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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13. Day Thirteen

Rose was still in bed at lunchtime. She was complaining that she was still so full from the night before. I sat alone and waited for her in the living room. “Rose, when are we going to go and explore more of Spain today?” I asked grumpily, even with a wife with cancer, I wanted to see more of Spain, so that Rose could see everything before she died.

“We’ll go when I can get up!” Rose replied. She looked angry with me, and I’ll admit that I was being rather selfish at the time, or at least seemed selfish, because in my heart, I was actually trying to do it all for Rose, and it was wearing me down to the bone, I so tired sometimes that I could barely even stand. But, I really wanted everything to be perfect for Rose.

“When’s that?” I called out to the bedroom.

“Ten minutes, sorry Lucas I’m really not feeling very well.” She coughed. Rose didn't sound very well either.

“Okay. Well just tell me when you are feeling any better so that I can make you breakfast and get this show on the road.”

“I have an idea; you should just go out yourself.” Rose shouted, she meant it in a good way. But I stormed out of the hotel apartment and went looking for something to do. My original plan was to take Rose out on a boat. As you can see, the majority of the activities we did were water based because Rose loved the water. I always thought that in her next life she would be a fish, because it seemed like the water was the only place she felt like she belonged.

I went down to the beach and asked the Boat Hirer if I could have a little blow up boat for the day. By the time I got home, I found Rose on the floor, collapsed and in intense pain. I shouted as I saw her collapsed body on the floor.

“ROSE!” I screamed, my body locked in place in pure horror.

“Shut up Lucas. I’m okay; I just tripped on the loose floorboard in the hallway.” Rose said. I think that at the time she was in more pain than she let me see because she was clutching her chest area. It looked like she was having trouble breathing. I couldn’t say anything; Rose would’ve ignored any sympathy that I tried to give her.

“So wonder-man, why did you come back?” Rose asked breathlessly.

“Because I may have just hired us a blow up boat and I want to take you out on it.” I explained. Rose’s eyes lit up with excitement. Anything to do with sailing and rowing, even being in any kind of boat was exciting for her.

“I love sailing.” She whispered. “But am I allowed to row in my condition?” That was a first. I remember her saying that rather distinctively, because Rose never cared for health and safety before that point. I think she was growing up a bit, from her normal fun self, to an adult that was dying.

“Well, I’ll be there, and if worse comes to worst, I’ll row both oars of it. I can row Rose, just not as good without you.” I laughed. She didn't laugh. Rose shot me a glare. I forgot boats were “her thing”. If she couldn’t take the boat out, nobody would’ve been allowed to. Soon we were on the boat. Rowing along the Spanish coastline, seeing everything we had the chance to. Rose was almost in tears at some points, she kept muttering and whimpering about memorizing this all. Rose always thought that you did go on to some kind of a heaven, and she wanted to memorize the whole of Spain to take up to heaven with her. After a while I grew hungry. Searching the boat I came across food parcels for guests on the yacht. The hamper was filled with sandwiches and jellies, biscuits and cheese. Everything I needed for a sunset meal with Rose. “Rose, when you see the sun begin to go down please stop the boat. We are going to have a sunset picnic.” I ordered. Rose smiled this time. She laughed.

Soon the sun went down and we were lying on the deck together. The Spanish sunset was even more beautiful than the English one.“It's beautiful.” I gasped as the orange sun began to sink behind the sea view.

“It is. But I like England’s sunsets better. They’re the ones I grew up with. I won’t see this sunset when we go home.” Rose complained, she lifted her phone from her pocket and tried to take a picture, but just before she could the battery died, the irony of it. Even the phone didn't want her to leave her life.

“We’ll have the memories though.” I whispered. Then, I took the camera that I bought down the market out of my pocket. I took a picture of her against the sunset background. I thought the sunset was beautiful, but the picture of Rose that night took my breath away. Her head, even shaven, looked perfect. Rose had tied a silk scarf around her head as the stubble of her hair was growing back. In the picture the tassels on the scarf were lifted in the gentle breeze. Rose looked like a woman warrior, going out to battle. Her eyes set on one goal, survival. The sun went down, and we agreed that we should make the most of the night and sleep on the boat. However, this meant that we had to create a cosy cushioned area with cushions from a nearby market as the floor of the rubber boat was not the nicest. I threw Rose blankets; I was scared at that point that Rose might get too, but she was fine.

Rose fell asleep in the den instantly. I did not. I never slept that night. I was watching Rose sleep. I was just looking at her breathing in and out, to make sure that she was alive. Of course I knew that she was alive, but I couldn’t take any chance. That was our last night in Spain; we were leaving the night after. The last thing I remember doing that night, was taking a picture of Rose sleeping. It may sound odd, but it's a memory I didn't want to forget. Again, her face looked perfect in the moonlight. She was my perfect Rose. There were eleven days left of her precious life. I was counting every second of it, every minute, and every hour. My wife, my partner, my soul mate, my colleague, she was

 

-everything to me-

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