The Days Before She Died

My name is Lucas Hunt,
The chances are you’ve never heard of me, never met me, and don’t even know who I am. I was a boy; I am now a man, with scruffy brown hair, big blue eyes and a body that all girls adore. This all means nothing to me. I don’t need or want the girls anymore, because the girl I truly love died. Rose is dead. I try not to think of her as dead, because she’s still alive in my heart. I live with the painful thoughts of her death, and the happiness of her smile. It’s the greatest of contradictions. That’s what I remember most though, her smile. But at least I Know that she died a happy woman because of what we did in the days before she died…

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19. Day Nineteen

A working week was left.

Waking up next to the corpse of my wife was horrifying. The day before she seemed so alive, but on day nineteen she might as well be dead. She was acting like a mummy, trapped under bandages.

I made Rose breakfast in bed for the first time in a while; she had completely lost her appetite. I went to get her some clothes to wear because her pyjamas were soaking wet with her sweat. Most of Roses clothes were to big for her, and so she ended up walking around in her dress she wore on her birthday. Walking around shops in a party dress wasn’t the best idea I had ever come up with and Rose hated it as well.

“I'm not wearing THAT to Candem Market!” Rose complained.

“Then what are you going to wear?” I argued. Rose left the room and came back a few moments later in a leather outfit that looked stunning on her.

“Is this point proven?” She laughed, cocking one of her eyebrows at an angle. I think she was trying to look serious, but her little smile was still there. I had to nod because she looked the part for Candem Market, a proper rock chic.

I dressed Petal into a pair of baby leggings and a simple rock shirt. She looked pretty good.

Candem market was mental. I had never been there before. There was the electric ballroom, the market stalls. People that looked so bizarre that it was like a work of art. I wanted to be one of them, but my life was bizarre enough.

“I want my ears stretched.” Rose commented as she saw another cool chic walk past. I immediately went to say yes, but it was hard. Rose looked naturally beautiful; I was scared that the stretchers might’ve made her look a bit strange.

“Go ahead.” I said, against my better judgement. Rose tried to squeal in excitement, but it ended up as a croak through her saw little throat.

Inside the piecing shop Goths were happily conversing about the newest tracks, knifes and piercings available. I ignored them because they looked badly at my little Petal; apparently you shouldn’t bring little babies to places like that.

Rose ordered some kind of an ear stretching thing and soon she had a big loopy hole in her ear. She denied that it hurt even though she was wincing from pain when the wind blew over her ear in the narrow gaps between market stalls.

Rose was thirsty, so I brought a cup of what I thought was coffee. It wasn’t. It was red wine in a coffee cup, but Rose drank it anyway. We brought scarves and table cloths, gothic clothing, punk shoes, Dr Martins. They were just things that we didn't already own. Of Roses parents weren’t funding the last few days of her life then I would’ve been a few thousand years in debt.

As a family we did everything we could at the market. But when were eating dinner something strange happened. There were a few spare seats on the table that we were sat at, I thought that we were entitled to the whole table... we weren’t. Another family came and sat happily with us.

“Hey!” The oldest male member of the family said.

“Hi.” I muttered. I didn't like other people being so close to us, or more specifically that close to Rose. I was scared that Rose would break under pressure, or if new people could give her another disease.

“How are you?” Said the elder woman, I think she was the older man’s wife.

“I am fine, why are you sitting at our table?” I asked curiously.

“Ha, I'm guessing you haven’t been here before. In Camden you sit with anyone, we’re all nice here. It's the only place I know where people can strike up a conversation without looking strange.” The teenage daughter of the older couple laughed.

“Okay” I whispered.

“Is your wife anorexic?” The daughter asked.

“No.” I replied bluntly.

“What’s wrong with her?” The daughter asked. “I'm Mel by the way.”

“My wife is dying from Lymphoma.” I explained. The girl looked at my first with sympathy, then at Rose with empathy.

“My sister died of breast cancer a few months ago.” Mel whispered. I nodded. Rose went to the toilets with Petal. I continued my friendly chat with Mel, it was true, you can make friends with anyone in Camden.

After around ten minutes of waiting for Rose I called her.

“Where the hell are you?” I shouted down the phone.

“Well, first don't shout, I may be dying but I'm not deaf, and I made friends with the cleaner. See you in a bit.”

As I hung up I realised that I shouldn’t have shouted at her and that she was probably mad. And so I brought her a comic, the comic of her life. A little man on the end of the market makes them. They’re really good; it was Rose as a superwoman, fighting against cancer. Of all the things I brought that day I remember that one best. I wish I had two made because Rose lost the one that I had made for her, that was a shame.

When we finally met again I saw Rose looking pale and a little faint, deciding it would be best to go home. Walking to the station Rose tripped over her own feet a few times, and I had to catch her and Petal, but it was worth it. She looked quite happy bouncing on her heels with a bunch of shopping bags slug over her arms.

That's what women are supposed to look like, happy whilst shopping. The moment we got home Rose collapsed on the sofa and fell asleep. Petal was stroking the dogs and tying them in scarves. I was making a dinner. We looked like the perfect ideal, cool family.

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