The End and a New Beginning
She sat beside him, unwilling to leave for even a moment. She had to stay, even while she felt his strength slowly slip away. Even while she felt his grip on her fingers loosen by the moment. She felt a warm tear join the fingers still in his grasp. Despite the sadness, she was also grateful. She smiled a teary smile as she took a hold of his hand, and pressed it against the side of her face.
She sucked in a breath as she watched him lay almost motionlessly on his hospital bed. On his face, she could see tears threatening to escape. His anguish was clear from his expression. She closed her eyes, letting more tears fall from her eyes as she let out a helpless sigh.
She knew this day would eventually come, but she couldn’t help but feel a bit regretful when she came to realize that it was finally here. In spite of everything, including the doctor’s prognosis, she had hoped that he would be able to accompany her longer. She had hoped that he wouldn’t be the first one to leave.
Although she knew this wasn’t something that he wanted either, she couldn’t help but blame secretly him. She sniffed. Why did this have to come so soon? If there was another way. At that moment, she felt his hand go limp in hers. Her eyes burned. All the tears that she fought to keep back, so as not to ruin his last image of her when they washed away whatever remaining makeup, spilled out at that instant.
She opened her eyes only to confirm what she already felt. What she already knew. He was gone. Gone forever. Gone without a way to return. She let go of his hand, letting it fall to his side, and threw herself over his body. Her body quavered uncontrollably, as she sobbed, clutching the corpse that was once her husband.
Even knowing that this day would eventually come, her heart hurt. A wrenching pain no less than a dagger twisting within her chest. But it was an inevitable end, one that she knew would happen. An ending that would come to every couple. Every person.
An ending that she knew she should’ve come to terms with. One that she knew she shouldn’t linger over. Yet, she couldn’t help herself. Holding what remained of him, she felt a sense of emptiness. Now she was alone. Alone in a world without him. Alone without the man that promised her a brighter future. Alone without the man that promised to accompany her for a lifetime. Alone without the man that gave her everything.
Over his body, she broke down, letting the emotions that she had kept in for all those years swirl about her. She should’ve told him earlier. She’d been holding back. And now there was no chance. She should’ve told him earlier. Taking his already cold hand into hers, she placed it over her belly.
She wasn’t human. Not like him. She knew that he always wanted children, but her species wasn’t the most fertile. One child every hundred years. She let out a regretful sigh, as more tears came to her eyes. She was seven hundred years old. Her own mother lasted six hundred ninety. With several hundred years under her belt, she never expected to outlive her husband, not to mention have his child.
But now he was gone. He’d never know. In his last moments, she couldn’t bring herself to tell him. She didn’t want to let him leave carrying regrets that he couldn’t change. She passed a hand over her wrinkled face. In her present disguise, she looked no different from the average elderly human woman. He would’ve never guessed.
He had thought her to be infertile. Yet, he loved her anyways. Never once did he consider remarrying. Careful about her feelings, he soon avoided the subject. Considerate of her, he quietly shielded her from his eager parents, who had always wanted grandchildren.
She put a hand to his face. Even in old age, he was handsome. She could still remember the day that he found her disheveled in the streets. To avoid notice, she had to constantly change identities every few years… until she met him. Until, he offered a hand to her despite the smell and fleas that coated her from her beggar disguise. Until, his non-judgemental smile, his welcoming eyes, and his unconditional kindness stole her heart. Until, he offered to take her as his wife.
She had hoped to be able to complete his dream of having a complete family. She smiled, an expression of mixed feelings. Finally, she would be able to give him his own family, but he wouldn’t be around to experience it. He wouldn’t even know about it.
She let out a sigh. Everyone, every being, would come to an end one day. She knew this. She looked at his corpse. She’d expected this. Yet, she couldn’t help but feel the pain anyways. It was the end. She placed her own hand over her belly, joining his hand that she kept pressed against it. But at the same time, it was a new beginning.
She fished in her pocket, before pushing a blue pacifier into his hand.
“Red for a girl, blue for a boy,” she remembered him telling her soon after their wedding.
Her heart stung, but she knew that this was how things were meant to be. Taking in a deep breath, she pushes the button to call the doctor. watching nurses shroud the body, regret mixes with gratefulness within her. He was a wonderful husband, she couldn’t ask for more. She passed a hand over her belly. Now, even as he left, he left her with a parting gift. He really didn’t want her to forget him, did he?
This story was inspired by a writing prompt from the “Microcosm” Publication.
We knew this day would come — it comes for us all.
All stories must end, and all endings are where the consequences land. All the machinations, the hopes and the dreams. The struggles and fight. Every thread, every action drives towards this moment.