He will die, life and light fading from his sea-green eyes as he takes his last breaths. His soft grip on my wrist will grow even softer as he uses his last bits of strength to stay conscious, if only for a couple more seconds.
The dagger in my hand will be sticky with his blood, and I will drop it. It won’t make any noise on the soft rug, and for that, I will be grateful. He will lean in and whisper his last words directly into my ear, for fear that in his condition, I won’t hear them.
“I still love you.” He’ll say, and I’ll drop him from my support. His head will hit against the wood flooring, the small space unprotected by the crimson rug.
Two days before then, he will come home from work upset, and I’ll hug him close, asking what’s wrong.
He’ll tell me he didn’t get the promotion, tears threatening to spill from those sea-green eyes. I’ll swipe my thin fingers at them when they do, stroking them at his cheeks. We’ll eat dinner in the basement that day, our hands entwined while we watch some cheesy romance movie, pausing to laugh at stupid moments.
The night before, somewhere between midnight and morning, I’ll get a call. It won’t wake him, though I’ll get a glimpse of sea-green when his eyes flutter. I’ll be groggy and fully awake at the same time, slowly walking to the kitchen where I’ll press the green ‘answer’ and speak a soft hello into the mic.
Boss will say I have three days.
It will be hard, in the days before this, to smile. I’ll stutter and cry and wonder why. What he did, what we did to deserve this.
He will know.
He won’t say anything, I won’t say anything, but he’ll know, his hands just a little more sweaty than usual when I hold them, his focus on work a little bit less important. He’ll do things he’s never done before like braid my hair and take me on walks in the park.
He’ll play with the ring on both of our fingers and absent-mindedly talk about the day we will put them on. He will know it’ll drive me nuts, but he won’t stop. His sea-green eyes will glisten with tears- and he’ll tell me they’re happy.
He’ll slowly stop looking me in the eyes, more focused on the curtains or the oven or the back window that opens into our messy backyard.
“We should clean it,” he’ll say one day, staring at the brown grass and the odd leaf still there from November. I won’t reply.
His birthday will be something strange.
“I don’t want a cake.” He’ll say, and this is when I’ll start to know he knows. I won’t ask him why, but I’ll buy him flowers instead. They’ll be chrysanthemums, six of them in all. He’ll put them by his bedside until they die, and since they’re store-bought, it won’t be too long.
The green of their petals will compliment his eyes, especially when they die, and I’ll tell him. He’ll smile, tucking a bud behind my ear. I’ll miss when life was so simple and sigh. We’ll play old music on the radio and dance like it’s 1900.
Days before this I’ll learn how to lie.
I’ll learn how much it hurts on the inside, how hard it is to look right into his sea-green eyes and say “I’m fine.”
It’ll get easier after that.
My phone will feel like poison when I hold it, hot and filled with secrets. He won’t see that. He won’t notice, won’t care maybe. He’ll trust me too much to even consider anything like that a possibility.
I will wonder how the sky will be so bright a blue, the sun so lightly shining, the trees so straightly standing when my life is falling apart.
It won’t feel fair to have to hold burden after burden on my weak and fragile shoulders. I’ll live with it though. I always do.
When the weather gets colder, I’ll complain. He’ll listen patiently, like he always does. He’ll buy me blankets, and we’ll cuddle underneath them, his calloused hands stroking my head. I’ll feel the overwhelming need to cry but I’ll hold it in, not wanting to ruin the moment.
Everything will go so achingly slow and painfully fast at the same time. We’ll be running from time and tripping all over it all at once.
My birthday will be the longest day yet. It’ll be a Monday, and he’ll have work. He’ll come home sweaty, without the car.
“I came as fast as I could- the car broke down,” he’ll say in between pants for breath. He’ll hold out a sweaty hand and inside it will be a rose. There’ll be small cuts on his hands from where the thorns would pierce it. I’ll drag him to the bathroom where I’ll patch his poor palms up and softly kiss the scars. His sea-green eyes will soften and I’ll thank him for the rose.
“I’ll return the favor on your birthday.” I’ll say, thinking of the flowers in our life.
At our wedding, the bouquet will be chrysanthemums.
We’ll laugh that night about someone stealing the broken down car, and he’ll surprise me with cake.
Everything will be light and happy. It’ll be nice, for a Monday. It’ll be before, still.
Going even farther back, I’ll be moving into his little house, smiling so hard my cheeks will ache. I’ll drop my boxes into our room and take deep breaths in and out. He’ll kiss me on the cheek and ask how I like it.
“Now that you’re here? It’s wonderful.”
We’ll share knowing smiles and decorate together. He’ll help me fold my clothes into the perfect little squares I like and we’ll hang our favorite pictures on the walls, making the space a little more cozy.
I’ll be just a little naive, a little hopeful. I’ll play with the gold band on my finger with the dates inscribed inside, swipe left and right on my phone. I won’t see anything coming.
For now, though, I’m taking a little bit of a different route to work.
I don’t go on the green light fast enough and someone’s car bumps into mine. It’s not too hard though, because whoever they are, they’ve tried to stop. I tap my fingers lightly against the steering wheel and unbuckle my seatbelt, walking slowly out of the car. I see the other person has done the same. He walks up to me.
“Are you alright? Anything hurt? I didn’t mean to bump into you, but you were a little slow at the light.”
I don’t respond for a moment, drinking in his features.
The thing that stands out most is his eyes- a lovely sea green.
“Sorry, it’s my bad,” I say, and the future comes crashing down into me.