She kissed his lips and tasted chocolate. It was his weakness, his greatest pleasure, besides her of course. He preferred the dark, pearl-shaped confections from the specialty shop on the corner. They had been a rare treat, reserved for birthdays and Christmases, but now she kept them stocked in a glass jar beside his bed. She smiled and brushed her hand across the stubble of his cheek, then rested her head on his chest. The beat of his heart was steady and strong and she tried to memorize the sound of it, saving it for later.
“C’mon now, Kate. We agreed this needed doing.” Sean wrapped his arms around her as she buried herself deeply into him, holding back the tears and trying hard to block out reality for a little longer. She took a deep breath, inhaling the smell of him and regaining her composure. He was right. As much as today was about securing her future, it was just as much about his peace of mind and she owed him that. Sean was a man’s man, a provider and protector, and he had no intention of letting death keep him from fulfilling his responsibilities. He had arranged a meeting with a lawyer for this morning, intent on taking care of every detail. Kate would want for nothing when he was gone, he would see to that. But what Kate truly wanted was the one thing he couldn’t provide, and she was not interested in the details of life without him. Sean took her chin gently in his hand and raised her face to his. He kissed her again, once on the lips, then once on the forehead. “We can do this,” he whispered softly.
We can do this. It’s what they had told each other countless times since the diagnosis. Together they had battled until there was no ground left to fight for. And then, preserving the last of the precious time he had left, they resolved to make the most of it together. We can do this. They said it, giddy with nerves, when they pushed off of the platform, zip lining through the canopy of a Costa Rican rain forest. They shouted it from the top of the highest ski slope in France. They mouthed the words to each other from across the table as they signed the papers and sold their house, moving back across the country to be closer to family in preparation for what was to come. We can do this.
He took her hand in his and Kate felt safe, as if he might somehow be able to protect her even from the heartache. But she knew he couldn’t, as much as he wanted to, and she was determined to spare him that pain. She reached into the jar and took another of the chocolates, pushing it playfully between his lips. Inside she was falling apart, but he didn’t have to see that. He deserved to have the last of his days filled not with tears and sadness but with friends and laughter, love and sex…and chocolate…lots of chocolate.
© Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015.
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