“Em.J, please, you can do this, you can get better. A lot of people will themselves into good health. Why can’t you?” He’s whispering, he thinks I’m asleep, although I hear every word of his pleading. He thinks he’s pep-talking my brain because he wouldn’t want me to hear him being this desperate. Normally he is positive, but we are nearing the end so he is doing anything he can.
I slowly crack my eyes open just enough to see him holding my hand beside me. He’s sitting at my bedside, I could hear in his voice that he was trying not to cry. He won’t, he never does. He has to be tough, for me, for us, just because he is the man. That’s how he thinks, that’s how he cares, that’s how strong and not strong he is.
I close my eyes. I really can’t go on any longer, it hurts too much, though I can’t tell him that. I don’t want him to have to take on any more extra pain for me, he’s done that enough already.
I clear my throat and open my eyes at the same time, even that is hard. He tries to wipe his eyes in a way that I won’t notice, “You’re awake, I missed you.” He always misses me, it’s what we do and have done for decades. He’d been sitting next to me for hours, holding my hand and he still missed me because I was gone, someplace far away.
I look at his eyes, they are different, sad, wrinkled, puffy, not young anymore. The first time I looked into his eyes they were free, full of life, not weighed down with the burden of what life has brought us over the past many years. I remember those eyes, I fell in love with them, even though I shouldn’t have. Is it really time, am I really going to leave now that I can so deeply feel that first time we met? It’s coming, full circle.