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Blake's backyard

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2

Esmee was sitting on a hospital bed, a male doctor standing next to her. Her eyes filled with tears as she heard the results.

″Are you certain?″

The doctor nodded and handed her a tissue. She tried to talk through her tears.

″What can I do?″

He gently placed his hand over her trembling one.

″Pray Senorita Sanchez.″

Esmee sat on her bed, reading a book. Jane Austen was her favorite, it transported her into another time, another place. Somewhere she would much rather be. A knock on the door brought her out of her daydream. She placed the book aside and walked towards the exit. Ben was standing on the other side, holding a single blue orchid. Her favorite, how did he know? He gave it to her and she smiled. Her whole face seemed to crack, she had not smiled in a while since her visit to the clinic. Ben gave her his arm, she took it carefully, not knowing what would come next. She thought he had given up on her. He led her past the kitchen, into the dining room and then out the back door. What she saw took her breath away. The oak tree was now being used as a sturdy structure for the loveliest wooden swing she had ever seen. Pink and yellow roses winded up the sides of the ropes, hiding any imperfections. It looked like something out of a fairy tale. She walked slowly towards it, as if it weren’t real. Ben watched her as she approached it. She had the enthusiasm as a small child. This gift was purely for her, she knew it. ″I built it just for you Esmerelda.″ She sat down gently on it, but it seemed not gently enough. Her back cramped and she fell to the hard ground. Reality snuck back in.

Esmee opened her eyes. She was in her room, a stranger hovered over her taking notes. Ben walked in and asked the doctor to leave for a moment.

″I’ll be back in a few minutes. She needs to be monitored.″

Ben sat on a nearby sofa and looked at the wall. He couldn’t believe any of it.

″I’ll never get old like someone should, but I will die Benito.″

He stood up, shaking his fists.

″Don’t you dare say that Esmerelda! Don’t you dare give up!″

He walked to the bed, pulled her into his arms and held onto her. She cried as she felt the energy leave him, drain him. He wiped her tears away and kissed her wet cheeks.

″You can survive this.″

She shook her head, he had to listen, he had to understand.

″You need to hear it from me Ben. Nothing can be done. No cure. No salvation for me. I will die in a short time and I want to do so with a clean conscience.″

She waited for a few seconds before adding,

″What about that dinner?″

Ben held out the chair for Esmee and she sat carefully, so as to not feel pain. The night was perfect, all the stars were out and shining their brightest. Ben had placed a small dining set outside, he had bought another orchid and some champagne as well. He went to get the plates and brought them outside where Esmee waited. It had been two weeks since he had gotten the awful news. But in those two weeks, they had cherished every moment they had together. He felt Esmee fading away, but he didn’t want to admit it to himself. She loved being outside now, loved sitting next to the tree and reading her novels. She tried to swing, but it caused her too much pain, so she gave it up. That had hurt more than anything, the memories she had with her father were slowly disappearing. She felt weaker, knew she was drifting away.

Esmee twisted and turned under her blankets, her back ached and she cried. Ben heard her and quickly made his way into her room. He opened a small lamp and sat down on the bed next to her.

″It’s okay, I’m here.″

He touched her arm to show his presence. She opened her eyes and blinked.

″I had the worst nightmare. Can you hold me?″

She moved over, groaning as she did it. She lifted the covers and made him get in next to her.

″I don’t think it’s a good idea Esmee.″

She pulled him closer and held onto him tightly. He closed the light and held her close to his heart. She was shaking as she often did, but that night, she was cold, almost deadly. As she was slowly drifting away, she whispered her love to him.

Ben opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. He was standing next to Esmee’s grave, a blue orchid in his hand. It had been two days since she had passed. He hadn’t been able to attend her funeral, he knew he would have been a broken down wreck. He still was. He had only had two months with her. Two months of hardship and beautiful moments that still left him guessing if it all had been real. He loved her beyond words, and now she was gone and he couldn’t tell her those words. They burned on his lips, itching to come out.

″I love you.″

He said it to no one in particular. Maybe the wind would carry the words until they reached his beloved in Heaven.

Work had resumed at the house, but it wasn’t like before. Their was a dark mood in the air and everyone could feel it. Ben walked out of the kitchen with a plate in his hand. He sat in the dining room and ate slowly, admiring the lovely french doors the workers had just installed. He finished his plate, stood up and walked towards the kitchen. He stopped dead in his tracks when he heard giggling coming from the backyard. The plate he held fell to the ground and smashed into a million tiny shards. He turned his head to the doors and walked as if he was floating on air. When he reached the doors, he held his breath. It was just his imagination playing tricks on him. He opened the door and walked out.

Esmerelda was swinging. Just like when she was a little girl. Her feet bare, her hair in the wind. She giggled and laughed as she went higher and higher. Ben tried to go outside, but an invisible field stopped him. He screamed out her name and saw her turn his way. She was glowing, happy and so full of life. What was he witnessing? He watched her get off the swing and come his way. She seemed in no pain at all. When she came up to him, it was as if she couldn’t see him. She was only a few feet away, looking through him.

″Esmee, it’s me. Ben.″

She brought a hand up to her face. She was surprised.

″Ben? I can’t see you. How I wish to see you.″

He held out his hand to touch her, but it stopped midway. He cursed.

″My, my, such bad words Monsieur Blake.″

He saw her smile and wondered when the dream would end.

″How can I see you, but you can’t see me?″

She looked back at the swing.

″I am in Heaven Ben, you can see me because Heaven is in your backyard.″

He was taken aback. Heaven? As in God and such? How could this be here?

″I know what you’re thinking Ben. Heaven has always been here. You can see it now because of the love we shared.″

″Can I come where you are?″

She shook her head.

″I’m afraid not Ben. This house is in the way.″

Destroy it? Had this man gone completely mad? Xavier sighed and looked up at the master of the house.

″As you wish Monsieur. Can I ask why?″

Ben smiled and simply replied,

″Heaven.″

Ben woke up, stretched and put on some clean clothes. He opened the door and found himself stepping into Heaven. He saw Esmee swinging under the oak tree. He smiled, it was a beautiful day. She jumped off the swing and ran to meet him. She threw her arms around him and kissed him passionately.

″Wow, what did I do to deserve this?″

She turned his gaze towards the shack he now lived in. A modest house for a modest man who wanted only to be with his one and only.

″I built it for you.″

She kissed him and took his hands in hers.

″When I said that the house stood between us, it was true, but I also meant you needed to push all the material things aside to be truly happy.″

She smiled and looked at him with a loving gaze.

″You gave everything up for me, and what did I give you?″

He pulled her into his arms and held her close to him.

″You gave me love. You gave me trust. And you gave me Heaven in my own backyard.″

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