Welcome back to Monday Coffee. Take a seat and pour yourself a glass of something while I line up the story for tonight.
Our main course tonight is a simple dish of glad-I’m-better served with a side of sickness left over from the weekend. After spending most of it in bed with a horrible cold, I am happy to announce that my voice is back, albeit a little huskier than usual, and I can now walk without tipping over like a drunk! My wine of choice is a rather old medley with warm undertones and a rich flavour of butterscotch. I don’t know if you’ve tried it before – it’s called Cavornia Cough Medicine. Have a swig. It goes well with the coughed up lung.
Now that the main course has been digested and all germs are out of the way, let’s get to the sweet part of our meal: the story. Today’s little tasty treat is based on my favourite – death. I favour it because it’s a constant. You can be more sure about death than love, politics or taxes. And it never lets you down when it says it’s coming to get you. So, with the mood set and taste buds tantalised, I present…
“I will be with you forever.”
The biggest lie. The lie that constantly sent me over the edge whenever I heard it. There he lay, weak and expiring, his watery gaze upsetting. Where once lay a virile Adonis slaying my fears and chasing rainbows with voracity, a fragile fallen warrior smiled in his place; the toothless grin repeating words that aggravated me the most: “I will be with you forever.”
“You lied, you fool. I’m going to be all alone. You will die and I will be left here without you. Why Auri? Why?”
His laboured breath slowed, the steady rhythm broken by an intermittent rasp. My heart skipped. A release of adrenaline shot through my muscles, making me leap from my comfortable armchair facing his bed to a sentinel position next to his frail form. Dry mouthed and shaking, I reached forward to touch his cold hand and checked his pulse.
“Auri?” I whispered.
Only his raspy breath answered.
“Auri?” My voice trembled.
A slow smile spread across his thin lips. “I’m still here my love. I’ll never leave you.”
The clocked ticked away the seconds it took for me to grit my teeth and contain my anger. This man, this incorrigible giant had filled my world with his presence for over fifty years. Our family had only consisted of the two of us, children being out of the question. But we were enough.
With the world as our playground we had travelled and drunk in the beauty and wonder around us, never stopping long enough to miss the people we met along the way. Too engrossed in ourselves, was the common accusation thrown over our lifestyle, but we didn’t care. Ours was a life of greater depth and purpose, allowing ourselves to stay almost innocent in our love for those around us. After all, it’s hard to disappoint someone if you’re never there!
The ticking seemed to slow, mimicking the sickening rasp of his hollow breath. Trickles of smoke slipped under the door, dancing between the relics that showcased our life, our love. Shadowed plumes puffed clouds of grey across pictures of Auri and me climbing mountains, dancing on sunset beaches and carrying a myriad of exotic animals.
My eyes filled as Auri’s limp hand slipped out of mine. His stillness left the room empty and I could feel the agony of being alone creep stealthily towards me. Anguish engulfed my heart, wracking heaving gasps as I refused to replenish my spent breath. I choked on my tears, feeling the burn of the thinning air.
You see, the sickness caught us by surprise. We had no time to think of cures or plans for the future. We never did anyway. Our lives were lived for today. And so, when his diagnosis pin-pointed only a few weeks to live, I had to come up with a plan of my own, something to stave off the darkness. It was working.
Fingers wrapped around us, covering us in a shroud so beautiful and mystical. It’s deadly beauty hid the loneliness that would have awaited me once they found Auri’s body. Slowly, I climbed into bed next to him, holding him as I had done for so many of our years together. I could feel his cooling body yield to mine and we lay in silence. Even the clock dared not disturb our peaceful slumber.
As the room grew warmer, I smiled and kissed him for the last time. Flames licked at the walls and made the paint squeal. All the memories we shared were going with us in my specially planned funeral pyre. The house was ours to burn and with no dependants to fight over the ashes, we would exit this world as we had entered it, rich in love not money.
My eyes felt heavy and as they drifted closed, I swear Auri was there, dancing among the flames, beckoning to me.
He didn’t lie after all – he was waiting for me in forever.
Thank you for joining me for Monday Coffee with a story. Join me tomorrow for Book Tuesday where I will be showcasing one of my children’s books and a book review of a crime romance.
Have a great evening.