Monday, October 21, 2013

[Fictional Story] The Cherished Heart

I'm feeling a bit ghoulish today -- but that's okay, it's almost Hallowe'en.


It was getting harder to breath every day. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest and no amount of coughing could relieve the pressure. I knew what I looked like; scrawny, stringy hair, smelling faintly of body owner, medicines and sweat. "It shouldn't be long now," one of my visitors had said, as if it was supposed to be a comfort. I suppose, in a way, it was. We'll put down our dogs when they have no hope of recovery, why is it such a sin to do the same for humans? Because the bible said its bad?

"I think I want to be made into a gem." I said, seemingly out of the blue. There was more wheeze in my voice than I liked.

"What?" My husband said brilliantly. I loved him, but even after eighteen years I wished he'd pay attention when I was talking. I realize that I flitted from subject to subject, that my mind would make lateral skips and jumps, but he could at least try instead of making me endlessly repeat myself and explain things four hundred times.

"A gem, when I die." I extrapolated. I couldn't talk much, it started to hurt after a while. "I want to be made into a heart shaped ruby or something like it."

"That'd be awfully expensive, if its even possible." He said, a frown on his square face. When we'd married he'd have lovely, thick, auburn hair that tended to be shaggy due to his never remembering to get his hair cut. Sometimes I think he married me just so he'd have someone to remind him of things.

I wordless turned my netbook to face him, showing the "life gems" page. The title and the words were hokey, but I very much liked the idea.

"That'd be awfully expensive," he repeated, still frowning.

"It's my money isn't it?" I would have snapped it if I'd had enough breath, but I had to settle for a sarcastic rasp. "Its about as much as a burial. Cremate me, get me made into a ruby."

He looked even unhappier. It occurred to me he didn't want to talk about my death, but really, what else was left to talk about?

He sighed, running his hand through thinning, untidy, mop that was more butter white than red these days. "And what do I do with it?"

"Give it to your next wife. Hold a raffle, whatever you want. What would you do with my ashes other wise? Dump them in the ocean to choke the fish?" Apparently, I wasn't much happier talking about my death but why did he always have to make everything so difficult?

His mouth opened and then closed. He blinked at me several times. "I would think, a ring with bits of my dead wife would be a bit ghoulish."

He had a point. I gave a half-snort and smiled, "Then get married on Hallowe'en," I suggested, humour restored.

He let out a bark of laughter and squeezed the hand he'd been holding. "A raffle, though." He looked thoughtful, eyes tracking slightly as they followed his thoughts. "We could hold a raffle to raise money for the children's oncology ward. They can probably never have enough Mutts books or XBoxes. It would be up to the winner what they want to do with it, make it a necklace, a ring.."

I felt love for him all over again, and it was if it was twenty years ago when we'd met. I'd been leaving the supermarket, he'd been entering and walked straight into me as he'd been talking into one of those old brick cell phones. My milk had splashed and sprayed, the eggs splattered, and the bread became a mangled mess. He'd dropped his phone (It wasn't harmed, but then, it could probably have been driven over and not get a scratch.) and started babbling apologies about how he'd pay for my groceries, or we could go buy more or all sorts of things. I'd just looked at this rather handsome, clumsy, bumbling, babbling man and thought "I could marry him." It was a silly thought, but there it was. I'd told him forget the groceries other than to help me clean up the mess, and to join me for lunch. We'd had lunch that turned into dinner that turned into a walk around the lake.

"And maybe I'd bring them luck and happiness?" I said with the smile, trying to ignore my body's insistence that I really needed to cough. I told it, mentally, that I really didn't so shut up and stop being so high maintenance.

"Or good health," he said with a sigh.

"I think that's covered under luck." I said, squeezing his hand.

And the thought of being kept close and loved for next to eternity warmed me and made me smile.

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