Jen DeSantis’ Choice: 1
Title: One Final Kiss
Partners, in sickness and health. Those were the vows and Paul had kept them every day of their sixty-two year marriage. He’d kept them gladly, for Cecile, his beautiful Ceely, was truly his other half. Without her, Paul would never be whole again.
Now death wanted to cut in on their dance card and Paul didn’t know what to do with his vows any more. Every morning for the past seven months, he would go into the makeshift hospital room that their den had become and he would greet his bride. She was as beautiful to him as she had always been, but the toll that the disease took on her pained him greatly.
“How is it today, Ceely?”
He never named it. Pain was the white elephant in their room; cancer the forbidden word. Ceely always smiled, her face too thin and her eyes bloodshot with medication.
“Oh, it’s just the same, Pauly.”
Just the same. Until it wasn’t any more. Until the morning he asked her, “How is it today, Ceely?” and she just looked up at him with her eyes sunken in her skeletal face and said, “Please.”
She cried then and he cried too, because he knew that the elephant in the room had finally won.
“Please,” she said again. “I need to go now.”
They’d talked about her final days before and how she wanted to go. She’d asked and he’d gallantly told her he would ease her pain. But now that the time had come and the needle was in his hand, he was scared.
He remembered those vows: till death do us part. It was the parting that scared Paul. Sixty-two years of loving and laughing and living. He couldn’t imagine a morning that didn’t include her smile.
He steeled his lips together and held the cannula steady in his hand as he placed it flush with the input valve. Paul injected the dose of morphine. It would kill her in minutes and it would be painless.
Ceely’s face softened almost immediately and he covered her frail hands with his own.
Her voice was a dying whisper as her eyelids grew heavy. The tears fell from Paul’s eyes, silently and steady, as his wife passed out of her pain. When her chest finally stilled, he placed a gentle kiss on her temple and closed her eyes all the way.
“I’m coming, baby,” he murmured against her forehead.
Death may have parted them momentarily, but Paul would not keep her waiting long.
Jennifer DeSantis is a Horror and Paranormal Author and host of the #FridayPictureShow. She lives near Philly with her family. In her spare time is an aspiring ninja.