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The Last Walk
“Ken, it’ll not wok!” Ashley said, her voice cracking as she defined her nightmare, “You and I were never possible.”
Ken noticed tears rolling down her lover’s cheek. Only he knew how much agonizing they were for him; almost world-ending. He moved closer and wiped them with his palms, feeling the warmth he had yearned for almost a month now. He never wanted to miss any moment; so he hugged her, communicating the ineffable.
Ashley loved the way Ken’s hug was light and passionate at the same time. She loved how he played with her hair, caressing them gently while saying “Everything’s gonna be okay.” She loved every bit of him.
“But Ken, what about our future?”
“What about it?” Ken asked while adding an effort-smile.
“What about our plans, our life… our marriage, Ken!” Ashley was crying hard now, “It’s all my fault… MY FAULT!!!”
Ken was trying hard not to cry. It wasn’t her fault…. Nature had tricked them, deprived them of all the joys and laughter which were once a possibility. He patted her back slowly, trying to calm her. But the sobbing only increased.
“Ashley,” Ken demanded while ending the hug, “look at me… look at me Ashley! Please!”
Ashley sniffed and cleaned her face from the back of her sweater’s sleeve. She looked up and stared into the golden-brown eyes which were deep as an ocean. She could read everything: the usual happiness was gone and creepy despondency had taken over, casting its darkness everywhere. It eradicated her hopes completely and she started crying again.
Ken knew Ashley had sensed fear in his eyes. But he couldn’t help. He feared the loss, the loneliness, the emptiness… and everything that was harbingering the inevitable. Ashley meant the world to him.
“Hey hey… baby don’t cry now, please…” he pleaded, “Look, you’re here, I’m here… nothing else matters! As long as I have you, the future means nothing, Ashley. Please.”
“Th-the d-d-doctors said I didn’t have m-much t-time… oh!” Ashley stuttered and fell to her knees. “Maybe n-not even 25 days…. And that was th-th-three weeks ago!”
The words struck Ken like a sharp dagger. How much time he had before…. He couldn’t even think about the aftermath.
“Look… f*** the doctors, okay? Forget everything!” he bellowed, his insides shaking with excruciating desperation. Accumulating all the strength he had, Ken gave Ashley a hand. “Get up now…. Good, that’s more like it… Come; let’s take a walk, huh?” He just wanted to deviate from this topic.
Ashley always loved Ken from the core of her heart but this magnanimous effort filled the space which did not exist. She stood up, folded her arms around his neck and kissed him.
Ken kissed back, answering all her questions…. He never wanted to let go, but he had to.
Arm in arm, they started walking in the park.
It was cloudy that day, but in a pleasant way. The birds were chirping and flying around, the kids chasing each other while laughing and playing, the couples enjoying coffee together…
Ken never wanted this day to end, for this day was different. For the first time, he sensed what loss meant; for the first time, he realized how ephemeral moments were; for the first time, he was overwhelmed with emotions he had never felt: and more importantly, he learnt about their value. He tightened his grip over his lover's hand.
This was the first silent walk Ashley was having with Ken. But deep inside, there was loud urge that had awakened. It was out of control. She looked at Ken; it was like she was falling in love again. This day, she completely understood the man walking besides her. And she was satisfied; for she knew very rare it was that the prince of your dreams comes real. She felt blessed for living a happy life now that the time to close her eyes had come.
Ken realized Ashley had stopped walking. He looked at her. She was smiling peacefully, her eyes closed. And then, weightlessly she fell to the ground. Ken's heart skipped a beat. No... Please no, not now! He wasn't ready. He bent down and shouted his life's name.
It was so fitting. The last words Ashley would hear would be of the man she loved the most. She felt Ken's hands on her cheek... His tears falling on her face... He was calling her name continuously.
She wasn't answering. Ken felt so helpless. "Help!" he shouted. "Please help!" He was crying hard now.
Ashley sensed people gather around her body. Someone was calling for ambulance. But she was gone. Far, far away... But watching as Ken never left her side, silently screaming "I love you!" in her already cold ears. She yearned to say back those words to him, but it was no longer possible. She was flying higher and higher and soon, all was black.