(Trigger warning-Cancer patient-)
I try to take in a deep breath, I can’t, it hurts too much. I close my eyes and try to block out the pain it takes to pull in a simple breath. My throat tightens with the threat of tears. I’ve never really been afraid of the dark, not till now.
My heart wrenches at my boyfriend's voice breaking through my worry. “I’m right here, If you need to sleep, just rest I’ll be here when you wake up.”
What if I don't wake up? I try to push the thoughts away before it causes my hand to shake from fear. What if I don’t wake up…My breaths have become slower the past few days. I know its only a matter of time. I’ve been in and out of this hospital the past few months. Cancer, what a vile despicable creature. It takes what it wants with no fear, no heart…
"No, I can't sleep." my voice is raspy, He knows I'm exhausted. His hands wrap tighter around mine. I feel his breath on my fist, he gently brings his soft lips to my fingers. A tear slips down my cheek. I know its only a matter of time. He tries to believe the best but I can feel it. Soon I'll go to sleep, the sleep that lasts forever.
"I love you." I whisper, he clings tighter to my hand, I see his slight nod but He can't bring himself to speak. I take in another breath, shuttering with pain. My body is screaming for rest but I won't allow it. I can't, I'm terrified. I can't let myself slip away, not yet.
"I love your smile." I say, trying to get him to look at me. I need to see his eyes, hear his laugh. I can't fall into the darkness of forever sleep without seeing his smile, the cute dimple he gets on his left cheek when his eyes light up. Again he nods but hides his face. He's always been strong for me. He's ever been afraid of the dark, never been afraid to slip into peaceful sleep. I try not to be afraid but I can't help it.
"Hey, look at me handsome." I try to let my voice sound lighter, happier, but I just croak out my words. I feel his breath become deeper, I know he's trying to compose himself. So neither of us fall into a tearful cry fest again. I don't want him to be to sad when I'm gone. I want him to live with a heart full of love for those around him. I want him to never have to know the fear of going to sleep and knowing there's possibility of not waking up again.
"I love you too." He whispers, I see his eyes glistening and look away, I won't cry. I slowly pick up my other hand. Though the movement sends off a siren of alarms. All the tubes and needles in my arm have a fit if I move them to much. Dustin stands and reaches across me. We've figured out which buttons to press to silence them, though my nurses don't appreciate it very much.
"What do you need? I can get it." He still holds my hand in his. I shake my head, though even that small movement sends a wave of pain and exhaustion. "I just wanted to touch you." I try to smile, I would ask for a kiss but I'm somehow embarrassed to ask, my lips are so dry and cracked. He lets out a sigh and lets a small smile cross his lips. Not big enough to force his dimple out of hiding though. He leans down, closer to me and takes hold of my other hand as well. Pulling my fingers across his cheek, letting them graze his lips. A lock of his unruly hair falls across his eyes. "Your adorable" I say. He chuckles and leans in for a kiss. I try to turn my head away but I'm to weak. He kisses me, he's warm and gentle and soft. How many more of these until I slip into un interrupted sleep...
"Promise me you'll find someone." I say once he's pulled back. He tries to smile but shakes his head. "I don't want to talk about that right now. Your going to be ok." I know he wants to believe that, I do so badly. Maybe he truly does believe it I don't know. I try to smile and push away the ragged breaths that continue to tear at my consciousness. "Sandy Hawthorne is pretty cute." I try to joke, "your the girl for me no one else. I love YOU" Dustin says leaning closer. I let my cracked lips curve up into a smile. "I know. I'll always be your girl."
"That's right, you'll always be my girl." He says with a smile though I can see him swallow back tears. I turn my head to see if there might be room for him on my bed. "Can you ..sit with me..?" I try to gesture to the bed but a coughing fit over takes the rest of my energy. It racks my body so painfully I feel as if I might slip away now. Dustin rushed to put a hand on my back and gently sits me up. he holds me close until I'm done. There's blood on my shirt. I see it, So does he. We both take in a breath. He helps me lay back down again, though sitting up as painful as it was, it felt good to get out of the one single position. "I'll be right back" He whispers in my ear. I realize my eyes have closed. No! I can't sleep! I can't leave him yet, I'm not ready.
"Hey, its ok," I hear Dustin's sweet voice in my ear, I can feel him wiping away the blood from my hospital gown. He doesn't deserve this. He shouldn't have to go through this. I hate myself for a moment. How could I put him through all of this pain and tears. I cry, but it only comes out in small sobs, my lungs couldn't handle anything more than that. I feel Dustin's arms around me, I can feel the tension of his body, holding in sobs of his own. He's been so strong for me all these months how could I hurt him like this. My eyes burn.
"Hold me..Please.." I say quietly. I'm exhausted My lungs are on fire, aching, but I can feel they won't work much longer, I am sure. "Promise me you'll find someone." I say, "Please promise me you won't stay alone. I want you to marry someone who can hold you back. Someone who loves you as much as me, maybe more.." My nose clogs with more tears. His arms encircle me, his warmth and strength. I wish I had his courage. "I promise." He whispers into my hair. I can feel his hot breath on the bac of my neck. "I love you so much don't you ever forget that. No matter what happens." He says.
I can feel it, I know it, He's always loved me. Since the day our eyes locked when I walked into class the first day of school a few years ago. He stretches his legs down the bed, I feel him lay against me and embrace me fully. His arm lays across my waist and his fingers entwine into my own. He clings to me as gentle but as fierce as possible. As if he won't let sleep take me away from him forever. I feel suddenly feel peace. He will be ok. I know he will. I take a deep breath, the first real painless breath I've taken in months. It makes me smile. His strength seems to be seeping into my body as he holds me. "I love you." I say, making sure he hears me. I hear the faint whisper of his gentle voice floating back to me, "I love you too."
I close my eyes, I'm tired, I don't have to be afraid of the darkness anymore. I can sleep now. He's right here holding me tight, keeping me safe. I smile as I let out that strong wonderful painless breath of air.