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The Last Grain of Sand in The Hourglass

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She lay her head against his, sighing at the perfection of the moment. The sun had just touched down on the horizon, it's last rays growing feeble as it kissed the ocean. The girl stared down at her hands, clasped in his, her thumb slowly tracing the contours of his wrist. He looked down into her eyes, smiling weakly. She was racked with quiet sobs, trying not to upset the fragile peace between them.

“This is our last night together,” she said flatly.

“I know,” came the quiet response. A long silence threaded between the conversation, in which the sun's light was almost entirely diminished. The atmosphere seemed to be charged with the tension that had accumulated in the last few days of her summer visit.

“This is our last night together...forever.”

“What?”, he softly exclaimed. “There's always next summer.”

“No. No, there isn't always.” She sucked in her breath, mustering her courage.

Before she could speak, he cut in, embracing her tightly as he whispered into her hair, “I always will be here, you know that right?”

“I won't be.”

“What do you mean? I thought--”, he began, but it was her turn to butt in.

“I have terminal lung cancer. The doctors caught it in one of it's last stages, and...”,her voice cracked as she struggled to say the last few words. “I only have a few weeks left, they say.”

He held her out at arm's length, staring intently into her eyes, searching her for any sign humor in her features. Her jaw was slack and quivering, her eyes haunted and tired, the strength with which she had earlier grasped his hands was so diminutive. How could he have not seen it earlier? How had he missed the passing of the love of his life?

“No....You can't know that for sure. They could be wrong!”

“But they're not. I can feel it killing me. I can feel this pain like nothing else exists.”

“No. No, no, no. No...” He arched his head back and let loose a mournful cry. Tears flowed freely down his face as he held her close.

They sobbed quietly for the rest of the night.

She feel asleep in his arms, as he did too only minutes later. The night passed uneventfully around the slumbering couple, and the sunrise ushered in a peaceful wind that played around the two. He woke first, content in the forgetfulness brought on by sleep. Realizing they had stayed on the beach for the night, he smiled. Recalling their conversation, his smile widened. They has flirted for a while, laughing and joking. His visage darkened as he remembered the rest of the night. He grimaced, feeling the streaks of dirt and sand left on his face from crying. Leaning over, he kissed her gently on the lips to wake her up, only to find them cold and pallid. He straightened up, face creasing in worry.

“Baby? Baby, are you okay?”, he said as he gingerly nudged her shoulder.

He grew frantic as she didn't respond. “Baby?! Please answer me! Please! Please....”

He blurted out words to her, any words at all that would entice her to wake up, to get up and kiss him back. He carried on for minutes, speaking almost incoherently. He told her of the trips to the beach, similar to this one, and the days spent surfing, the nights spent talking late, the little adventures they had each day. But of course, she did not answer him.

“Please, it's so not fair to you. It was amazing. This was our third summer together. Everything was going perfectly. You were perfect. Baby, I'm so sorry I didn't get the chance to do this for you; you would have loved it. I'm so sorry. I love you.” He knelt next to her body then, clasping the ring in his pocket. Taking it out, his slipped it on her finger, and it fit perfectly.



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