Three Years Prior:
“Did you know that I’ve always wanted to be a star,” she asked with her head tilted up, a smile on her face. Before I could answer, she stifled out a small laugh before continuing with, “Not a superstar or anything, but a physical star.” She was serious as she spoke, looking away from the stars right into my eyes. “And what led you to this?” I questioned without breaking the contact. Her eyes are the fairest shade of blue, twinkling like the stars; her face peaceful as she contently speaks, “All things full of light must die in the end,” without a waiver of her words. Sensing the confusion on my face, she lightly takes her hand to my heart. “But even after death, light is still infinite… in the stars,” she whispered. I stare at her in euphoria before I take the hand atop my chest tightly into mine.
I stand up from our seated position in the grass pulling her up with me, never looking away from her, and never releasing our hands. “I love you Gwen,” I state, trying to withstand the emotions in my chest. “And I lo—” she starts before I nudge my head for her to listen. "I love everything about you. Your wisdom, your light, and your beauty.” I shake my head to push the feelings away so I can finish what I have to say. “You’re as beautiful and bright as a star,” she smiles, but I can see the glistening in her eyes, “And I want you to be my star.” A tear streams down both of our faces. “Will you—" I choke out as I gently bring one knee to the ground and pull the diamond ring from my pocket, “—live and love infinitely as my wife?”
A sob escapes Gwen’s throat as she releases my hands to cover her mouth. She nods quicker and quicker before she squeals, “Yes! Yes Theo, I will marry you!” I shoot from the ground and pick her up with a spin and a laugh. Though I am crying, the bliss washes over as Gwen is soon to be mine eternally. Mrs. Gwendolyn Marlow Davis.
One and a Half Years Prior:
“Gwen, love, why are you crying?” I coo walking in to find her on the bathroom floor, her knees hugged into her chest. Squatting down in front of her, I brush the auburn hair from in front of her face. Her blue eyes are bright with tears leaking to the sides of her blushed cheeks. Her lip quivers as she takes a staggering breath. She’s closed her eyes to avoid mine, but I wish I knew what was going on in her mind. I wipe away her tears, but keep my palm pressed to her face. She leans into my touch before she opens her eyes. They’re full of dark, not full of the light I know. It’s pain and hurt, and I would do anything to take it away from her.
All she could do was shake her head before the wails started again. I wrap my arms tightly around her, pressing kisses into her tear-soaked hair. To our right, I see one of many pregnancy tests sitting on the counter all imprinted with one solid red line. She is not pregnant, we are not going to be parents, and hope is lost once more.
There’s panic and excitement coursing through my veins; equivalent to a waterfall off a steep cliff. It’s been a year and a half since I held Gwen through a night of sobbing, shaking, shushing sweet nothings. She told me she would never forgive herself if she wasn’t able to have our child. Little did she know; we would be driving to the hospital, ready to witness the birth of our baby girl.
The midnight traffic is little to none tonight, but that doesn’t stop me from gripping the wheel till my knuckles turn white.
“Hm?” She hums curiously looking away from the window. She could never help but to look at the stars in the night sky. A memory of Gwen’s eyes the night of the proposal flash through my mind; full of light and as astral as the stars. “Theo?”
I snap away from the memory and make a quick glance her way. “Sorry, just reminiscing about our past,” I say with a shy smile. She releases a quick laugh before tensing with pain. I look over quickly at the navigation. “Five minutes baby,” I say with my foot pressing the accelerator. Our speed is increasing, and so is Gwen’s labored breathing. Turn by turn and car by car, the hospital is finally coming into view. The drive now feels like a blur, my palms are extremely sweaty, and I can’t help but imagine how Gwen is feeling.
“You alright, honey?” I question pulling into the ER entrance area.
“Perfect,” She reassures.
“I love you.”
“I love you more.”
“What is happening?!” I practically scream. Gwen’s body is on a gurney being rushed through the hospital when I return from parking the car. My stomach dropped and before I knew it there’s a singular tear beside my eye. She’s pale in comparison to the fiery hairs streaming by her face. Her eyes are rolling, and her breathing is hitching. Her arms are reaching and flailing, but nobody is answering me!
“What’s wrong with them?!”
“Sir, please calm down. We are doing everything to help your wife and the baby,” a young nurse with a clipboard and pink scrubs says. “Please don’t make me leave them,” I say with my hands tearing through my hair. She gives a solemn nod with her head before allowing us to continue after the gurney. I’m walking in a trance through halls of sanitizing smell and sounds of machines; hypnotized by the sight of my lightless wife.
When we enter the room, it’s a frantic mess of doctors poking and prodding, speaking words I don’t understand. I’m spun like a roller coaster ride, but when they say, “The baby is killing her,” I snap like a rubber band.
I urgently go to Gwen’s side and press a kiss to the crown of her head. “Stay baby. Stay with me,” I whisper continuously into her hair. The locks of amber that I love so much. The hair that brings out the brilliance of her eyes; the ones that are now clouded in distraught after every slow blink. She’s not screaming from pain as they slice through her stomach, but her chest is heaving in choppy breaths. My vision is blurry when I hear it. The cry of my daughter. It’s so faint but it’s her; she’s here and alive. It was so sudden, but now it is gone and she is wheeled out of our room.
I’m watching frantically as our small baby goes by when I feel the faintest grip to my hand.
“Theodore,” her words slur.
“All things full of light—” she inhales, “—must die in the end.”
“Gwendolyn, don’t you die on me! You breathe! You live!”
“I existed for this. And it was beautiful, but I must pass the infinite to her.”
She breathes out and closes her eyes. Her final tear falls past her cheek.
“Look for me in the stars by Saturn, Theo.” She lastly says through shortness of breath, before moving into a state of evanescence. Her monitors are blaring and flashing, but I already know that the light of my life has flickered away. “Gwen! Say it again! Please!” I yell, thrashing around to find a pen. I won’t forget the last words she said. I must share them once again to the last piece of my brightest star. I’d do anything to hear her say it one last time, but still, I couldn’t find a pen. “I couldn’t find a pen…” I sob sinking deep to the tile of the floor.
I don’t know how long I’ve laid down in a puddle of misery. My world was as dark as it could get with not an inch of light to reach. As I think back to before I met Gwen, I feel the empty color of black that I once lived through; I just hadn’t recognized it yet. It feels like years have gone by since I last heard her voice; honestly, I don’t know how long it’s been.
“Sir?” A distorted voice announces. I open my eyes that are sore and stinging to find the lights dimmed, the sky still dark, and the bed cold and empty. I lick my dry lips and open my mouth to speak, but there’s no words for me to say.
“I understand that what has happened is incomprehensible, but I thought I would ask if you wanted to meet your daughter.” The young nurse from the entrance says gently. I still can’t talk, so all I do is nod yes.
Minutes pass before she wheels a hospital style crib into the room. I press my palms to the floor and bring myself up to a stand. She flips the switch to the light and there she is, a spitting image of my Gwen.
“Wow,” I bring myself to whisper. I immediately reach for her with more than just hurt in my heart. Love. Light. Fulfillment. I pulled her close to my chest to walk around in a waltz towards the window, because now I know what she meant by ‘look for me in the stars.’
There she is carrying light endlessly through the night. The brightest star in the whole sky. Courageous and beautiful she once and always will be. Living through this new piece of life that we made. “Saturn,” I breathe to our baby and to my love. Gwendolyn Marlow was my star, but Saturn Lynn is my universe.