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Prompted

I received a request for a story from Marilyn Parel (@mparel) on twitter a little while ago. I responded by asking for a prompt. This is what I was given.

“As I looked into his eyes, my soul fled my body.”

I couldn’t ignore that, besides, that is a really good line.

So here it is; my response to that prompt, and I only changed one word. I hope you enjoy, “Silence”.

Silence

Shelly watched Mark move around the room, doing his best to make it pretty for her. He changed the flowers, swapping out the dead roses from Valentine’s Day for a set of Lilly’s that were pink and white. The soft smell spread through the air and tickled her nose as the minutes ticked by and the fresh aroma won an air-born war against the dying flowers.

He straightened the blankets, tucking the edges down with as much military precision as he could when she was still in the bed. It wasn’t right, but he tried, because that was how she liked it.

These things and a million other little actions were how he started every day. Coming in and moving the room around so that she wouldn’t get bored. A difficult task in a long-term hospice.

What meant the most to her was that he tried.

He lowered himself down to the chair beside the bed, reaching out and taking her gnarled hand in his own. “Your hands are so cold,” he said as he began to rub them. “I may have to turn up the heat a bit before I leave.”

Don’t leave me, she thought, please don’t, but she hadn’t managed to speak in months. The stroke had stolen her body from her and all she could do was stare. She was lying, surrounded by pillows, watching her husband fuss and bustle, without being able to help.

Or speak.

Or cry.

No matter how much she wanted too.

Mark smiled down at her and started talking about the house. About the Dogs and cats and everything else he didn’t like taking care of, but that he wouldn’t get rid of since she loved them all.

“I swear, if I find one more pile on the floor I am gonna throw that little monster outside.”

No you won’t you crotchety old fart, she thought, you love that little dog and you just won’t admit it.

Mark stopped talking after a few minutes, just sitting quietly. Shelly watched his head nod as he nearly dozed off, despite having just woken up an hour ago or so. She wished he would crawl up into the bed and put his arm over her, like they had for the last forty years, but she knew he wouldn’t if she didn’t ask him to.

And she couldn’t ask him to.

“I am going to have to go,” he said, “I didn’t sleep very well last night and I would hate to have problems driving home. I will be back tonight so we can have dinner together.”

No, don’t leave yet.

He smiled down at Shelly, and began to sing. He could not sing. He never could. But one time, a long time ago, he had sung to her, a child’s song that he had started singing to her every day before he left.

“You are my sunshine”

Mark moved so that he was sure she could see his face.

“My only sunshine. You make me happy when skys are grey. …”

He paused, and Shelly watched Mark’s eyes widen as he slumped forward. He looked surprised, and she heard a tiny gasp before his head fell down on top of her leg.

She tried to scream for help. Her mind roared and if her body had followed suit, the windows would have rattled with the force of her scream.

But the windows didn’t shake, and her throat was not torn from the effort. Her husband died, and all she could do was watch the light in his eyes go out.

She felt the tear run down her cheek. The first thing she had felt in so very long. But that one sensation wasn’t worth the cost.

I want to die, she thought. I don’t want to spend another day in here without you.

She willed her heart to stop. Shelly, a woman who was never known for piety and prayer, begged god to take her life.

She would never know if her prayer had been answered, or if her force of will had been strong enough to stop her heart.

Or if grief was what did it.

Shelly felt her pulse slow down. She felt a chill rise up out of her body and felt her soul release its hold.

Shelly stood up, and since she hadn’t moved in such a long time, the first thing she did was stretch.

“What the hell?” She said as she looked down at the wrinkled shell, lying in the hospital bed. The shell that was holding her husband’s hand.

“Watch your mouth young lady.”

When she turned, it didn’t hurt her shoulder. She looked and could clearly see despite not having her glasses on.

Mark stood waiting beside the door. He was smirking at her like he always did when he teased her for cursing.

“You waited for me?”

“I waited for you. As soon as I was out of there, I could hear you. I promised to stay with you when they brought you in here. There was no way I was going to leave without you.”

“As I looked into your eyes, my soul fled my body. I felt it.”

He nodded, extended his hand and wiggled his fingers. “Come on sweetheart, time for us to go.”

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Categories: Random
  1. July 31, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an incredibly long comment
    but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that
    over again. Anyway, just wanted to say great blog!

    • August 1, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      Thanks and I am sorry to hear that your post got blown away. Funny thing is that on my phone it deleted your comment instead of approving it and I had to go into the bin to fetch it out.

      Hope you enjoy the rest of the blog. Thanks for stopping by.

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