THE LAST TIME
There was once a young couple, who met outside ‘Lil Bistro Café two years ago in college. During which time, they fell madly in love with each other’s quirks and faults. She, with his insatiable outlook on love and life; He, with her inability to walk and chew gum at the same time.
He has planned an evening she will never forget. An evening that will mark the beginning of the end of his life, and the start of theirs.
They meet at the café, from which they first met, and have a lovely, yet awkward, meal. She took small bites, calming the uneasiness building inside her, and he tapped his fingers on the white table cloth relentlessly.
Later that night, he walks her to her apartment and whistles a tune into the brisk air. A tiny brown pup came bolting up to them. It’s a chocolate lab, and wrapped around it’s tiny neck is a bright pink ribbon. He incorporated two of her favorite things: chocolate, and pink.
Attached to the end of the bow was a tiny velvet box. Her gasp said it all, relieving some tension pitted inside him. He opened it, and her blue eyes twinkled with the stars disbelieving this is actually happening.
“Will you marry, us?”
She looks at him and the puppy, then graciously accepts his request.
But, he added one stipulation to his proposal: That they remain married until the demise of the puppy when he is old, frail, and weak with sickness, but continue to remain in love to the end of time.
She knew this particular breed is lucky to live past ten years. She’s heard from people in the past they knew of labs lasting well up to fifteen years. Though, she didn’t care. She wanted him, to be his wife, and mother of two, future, kids; One boy. One girl.
She agreed, thinking by that time he would waive it and his memory would fail to recall such a demand.
Five years passed. Their first child was born. A little girl, named after her mother, Emily.
By the seventh year, a boy named Scotty Jr. was blessed upon them.
Ten years had finally passed, and no more children have been placed upon them. Instead, her husband became weak, frail to the touch. He seemed vacant, and appeared much older than his actual age. It has always made her worry, but when the worry persisted, he would let her know that nothing is wrong in a life filled with love.
Early that morning, the poor dog, that was once a puppy, passed away. Broke everyone’s heart, while shattering hers. Because of this, and his constant reminder for the past few weeks, she knows what to expect next.
Later that night, her hands shook with nervousness. He clasped them tight in his, and whispered into her ear, “Always love me.”
She smiled, choking back inevitable tears. She tried to ask if she should be expecting papers by the morning.
But, he doesn’t respond.
His head begins to weigh heavy on her shoulder. “Well?” She presses.
“I love you, Honey.”
Becoming furious with his dismissal, she presses harder for answers. How could she love someone, knowing they are just going to leave her? She wants to know, needs to know, what the heck is going on with her marriage. Uncertainty almost kills her. “Tell me if we are staying together, or getting divorced. Now, Scott.”
She nudges him, as he typically nods off asleep there almost every night.
His head plopped down on her pillow. Then, she sees it…
Her cries, pleas, and chest compressions prove unworthy of her saving his life. He’s not waking up, and shaking trembles of tears weave down her ivory skin.
The next morning, she is alarmed of the news.
A letter, addressed to her, from Scott, ten years ago, lands inside the mailbox.
I hope you are not upset. You are the love of my life, and I never dream of ever hurting you. I never intended on leaving you, nor did I intend on allowing you to put your life on hold for me.
I have cancer, and I am dying. Doctors claim I am lucky if I survive ten more years. But, I am also dying to give you the life you deserve. I know of your plans to have two kids, and one dog, then to be married to me. I want to give you everything you ever wish for. And hope that it is enough to numb the pain you might wind up feeling the moment I slip away from you.
I love you, forever, and always. I hope you will, too.
She stared up into the, mourning, sky, and whispers through the wind, praying he hears her, “I love you, always,” and wishes she would have said it back to him, the night before.
By: Amey Coleman