…Forever…
 
She couldn’t imagine life without him. He was hers forever, he said. She needed his smile to give her daily energy. She needed his pep talks to get through her day. She needed his kiss, as if it were a burst of oxygen that kept her veins pumping. She didn’t know how to be his energy, his daily pick me up, his burst of oxygen. The ventilator was doing that now. His blue eyes hidden by his peaceful sleep. Helpless, she sat in the old, probably dirty, brown chair next to his bed, holding on to his hand, whispering to him that she will never let go. Every so often, she would give a light squeeze, a reminder that she was still with him. Her clothes were laid out on the floor, her toothbrush in his private bathroom, her black glasses, the ones he said maid her hazel eyes look even more gorgeous, on the counter next to his inedible Jell-o. Practically moved in, she felt she had no where else to go, no one else to turn to. Her everything. Her everything was laying, comatose, on the forty-five degree angled bed that, no doubt in her mind, was not comfortable for him. She should have been in that car with him. She should have.
 
Her face was red, puffy. She couldn’t remember the last time she wasn’t crying; the last time her cheeks were dry. Her clothes were dirty, she probably reeked, but she felt glued to her seat, glued to his hand. She could feel how matted her brunette hair was, how withered she appeared, but that didn’t matter now. Nothing did without him. Scared to remember him like this—with a three-inch gash going from his forehead just to the edge of his eye, with his left arm broken in three places and his collar bone fractured—she closed her eyes. Climbing into bed with him was the only sliver of comfort, all she could do to not cause a scene in the ICU. She needed to be close to him, to be one with him. Trying to keep a steady flow of happy memories flooding through her brain, she almost broke a smile, only to remember that opening her eyes would slash her happiness just as fast. She looked at her left hand, on her ring finger that now supported a diamond ring.
 
“It’s time,” the voice of the nurse murmured, and she jumped from the sound of the nurse’s voice—frightened and angry all at once.
 
The soft beep constant beat of the machine slowly, sadly, turning into a flat monotone noise, and she lost his contagious smile forever. 

Jamie Rothberg | Writer | Chicago

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