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Death surrounded him and he thought, or perhaps in some way hoped, that he would join them. The teary-eyed man grasped at his throbbing chest as if his torn heart was going to fall out and roll down the steep hill to escape the tremendous pain. Pain was something that the teary-eyed man had grown mildly accustomed to over the last few months. A hole was inside his heart, a gaping wound that would be marked on him forever like a nasty scar and leave him alone in the cruel world. Though his heart did not literally fall out of his chest, he felt like it had spiritually fallen into the dirt where the reason for his pain lay.
The man knelt and grasped at the soft grass as tears started to flood his eyes. He knew that this was going to happen if he came. Then why did he come? Did he want the pain? No. No, he did not want the pain at all. Something instead had driven him here because of a passionate purpose; a journey that his heart, mind, and soul needed. He needed to be with her again. He had to be near her because he could not stand another second more without her by his side, comforting him, holding on to him, and loving him. But she could not do that. She would never love him again. He would never feel her warm skin, see her delicate blue eyes, and kiss her gentle lips again. She was gone. His face fell to the ground and he sobbed, wishing that he had gone with her, that they were together again, not separated by the hard dirt of the Earth.
Her final days had been ones that he would remember until his fateful death. She lay in a hospital bed, crying out in agony, clenching his weak and trembling hand. Her voice filled the small hospital room with a harsh tone and even harsher words. She would give him orders to go and tell the doctors to up the dosage of morphine, to give her something so that the terrible pain all across her body would go away. He would then close his eyes, tears streaming down as his heart began to break, and tell her, his one true love, that she was on the highest possible dosage of morphine that they could allow, and that there was nothing that they could do to make all the pain go away.
“Do you want to see me in pain before I go? Is that how you want me to leave? In pain and agony?” she asked him in a hysterical voice that he had never heard from her before. It was as if what was killing her was turning her into a monster, some conniving, yet frail beast that preyed on her poor weak body.
“Of course not, honey. It kills me to see you in pain.”
She had then turned to him, her eyes wide and dark. The furious, dying monster now looked upon him, not his dear love. “How could you sit there and say that to me? How could you? How dare you. You have more time to live. I’m the one that’s dying. They tell me I have, what, three days left to live and yet you sit there and say that me dying is killing you. Let go of me. Leave me alone.”
Her feeble yanks at his hand could not relinquish his grip. He sat perfectly still, as if her words had turned his insides into stone. The monster looked away from him, staring at the bright outside world, watching as life continued to run its normal course, uncaring of her death like she meant nothing. She then began to sob, not because of the pain, but because of the reality of knowing that she would never see the earth again. In a matter of three days her life would be completely over. She would find out if there was anything after life, or if we lay in the dark for eternity, ceasing to exist.
He sat there, watching his love slowly pass away in bitter pain. He refused to leave her side, even though she had not turned to him or had given him any sort of reprieve or sign of forgiveness. He did not care. He had to be with her as she died. Visiting hours did not apply to him.
The next day around noon, he leaned forward and kissed her hand. Her skin, usually warm and soft, was then cold and rugged. He forced himself to hide back the tears and did his best to remove the dark pain from his face. She did not move. If she died hating him, he would still love her.
Suddenly, her head turned towards him. He stared, petrified at her face that had looked as if it had caved in on itself. Her cheeks looked as though they were being swallowed by her face, her eyes bulged out, and one could tell that it was a struggle for her to talk. She started to talk, but he could not hear her. He leaned forward, his ear almost pressed against her lips. “Tell me how we met.”
He backed his face a few inches away and stared deep into her pale eyes. The monster in her had lost the battle and was gone. His love had returned to him. He gently touched her face with his hand, giving her warmth that she gladly embraced, ignoring the pain her body was in. “I was walking into this grocery store and I looked and saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. My heart started to race and I just knew that I had to talk to this girl, even if I couldn’t get with her; I just had to talk to her so that she knew that I existed. So I went inside the store with about thirty dollars in my pocket. Now, I had only intended to pick up a couple of items like milk and bread and such. But as I thought more and more about the girl, the less I started to think about anything else. I grabbed a cart and picked out everything I could, without the slightest hint that I didn’t even come close to having the amount of money to pay for all of it. I wanted to get everything that I could so that I was in the line longer so that I had the longest time possible to talk to this pretty girl. After I got about half of everything in the store, and I do mean that quite literally, I rushed towards the line where I saw her. I looked all around until I finally gazed at her again. She was more stunning than I had remembered a few minutes before. My heart began to race again. There were a couple of problems though. One problem was the fact that I had grabbed about three-hundred dollars’ worth of groceries and I only had thirty dollars. Then I realized that her line was packed full, and the checkout line next to hers was nearly empty. Now I sat back and waited for her line to go down and for other people to get into the other line. But by the time I did get to hers, the other checkout line was nearly empty again. The worker in the checkout line was a large, tall, young man who quickly scanned the grocery items, passing them through the scanner within seconds. The girl was slower, but I had no interest in the guy. As I stood in line to the girls, this large, young man called to me, telling me that his line was open. I pretended to ignore him, looking the other way as though the noise of the store blocked out his loud voice. I became nervous when I saw that nobody else was getting in his line. I forced myself to whistle, as to add more noise to further ignore him. Her line began to move and I pushed my cart forward, but the young man, obviously very eager to get my attention, got out of his line and came over to me, calling to me, raising his voice, which echoed throughout the large store. By this time, people started to look and talk amongst themselves. Even though it was obvious he was calling to me, I continued to ignore him. I grabbed a magazine and looked through it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that this girl was now looking at me. I looked up from the magazine and looked at this girl’s gorgeous, and I do mean gorgeous, ocean-blue eyes. I felt my body melt. In those few seconds that we stared at each other, the world was cut away and it was only me and her in it. She looked down timidly and smiled. I felt like the world was mine getting her to smile at me. Suddenly though, the young man that had been calling me out grabbed my shoulder. I turned and looked him right in the face as he told me that his line was open. Before I could argue with him, he grabbed my heavy cart and pulled it over to his line. Disappointed, I dragged myself over to the young man’s line. At this point in time, I was nearly twenty-three, and this young man was about nineteen I would’ve guessed. But as I stood in that line and watched him scan the items, I felt like a three year old. I would have told him that I did not have the money if it had not been for the fact that the girl was right behind me. I could smell her sweet perfume and my heart was going insane again. While the young man scanned the items, I kept turning my head around to look back at the girl. Before long though, the young man was done and told me a staggering number. Stumbling for words, I told him that I could not afford that. So he asked me, with a bit of impatience in his voice, how much I needed taken off. I simply told him all of it. The young man’s face was first filled with shock, but then a sudden rage took over him and I thought he was going to beat me with every item. The young man told me that I was going to have to go take all the items back, and I told him that I would. The girl behind me talked, and hearing her voice for the first time I was immediately captured in awe. She told the young man that she would help me. He told her that she was done with her shift, but she waved him off. I was completely in love with her at this point. It took us about an hour to put all the items back, but we talked about everything. When we were finished, we went out to eat and the rest is history. I ended up marrying her, which was the greatest accomplishment of my life. I got to wake up every day next to her, and felt my heart racing every time I looked into her eyes. It’s the feeling that I have now, my dear love.”
She smiled. For a split instance, maybe just a mere second, she was no longer in pain, and was cured of the cancer. He hugged her tightly. Then she suddenly gasped for air and her monitor blared. Her went down to the pillow and she closed her eyes, and would never open them again. He tried to wake her, but she was gone. It was later said that one could hear his cries clearly on other floors of the hospital. He lost two days with his wife, and he was never getting them, or her, back.
The teary-eyed man raised his face from the grass and leaned his head against the tombstone. He sobbed and moaned, gripping the grass tightly beneath him. He kissed the stone and stood weakly, his legs barely able to stay under him. He walked away, wiping the tears from his eyes, with one thought clouding his mind.
He was hurt that he was not able to tell his wife sorry for killing her, though it had been for her own good. Every day he went by her grave, hoping desperately that she would somehow forgive him because of what he did. But as he had lain next to her, watching her as he told the story of how they met, he could not stand the weakness and the pain in her eyes. So he hugged her tightly and held on. She had not struggled with him as she was unable to breathe, and that made him feel like she had wanted to die, to be done with the pain. Or perhaps she had been too weak to fight back.
Now, though, he was a broken and ruined man. Every day he woke up and instead of his heart racing, it sank to his stomach with a simple thought: I killed my wife.