Wonderful Life

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I’m laying on the couch, one hand on the other, eyes closed. I’m silent, keeping company to the woman on the floor. She wouldn’t sit on the chair, and I wanted to stay close, just in case. There’s a cigarette between her fingers, but she only notices it’s out when she moves her hand closer to her mouth. “Can I have your lighter again?” she asks quietly. Her throat is sore but her voice doesn’t sound too rough. She has a sweet tone, and smoking only made it more so. It’s the reason why whenever she comes visiting, I lay on the couch and close my eyes. I reach the left pocket of my pants and take the silver lighter out. I stretch my arm in its entirety, because I know her limbs are not long enough to reach across the distance between our positions, and she takes it. But apparently it wasn’t enough, or she just decided to sit somewhere else. I open my eyes. She’s searching for something in her bag. “I never understood why we keep so many things in our bags” she says, holding a cigarette box, turning around to face me. “Darling, you are a woman and a mother, and that should be enough to answer your question”. As she lights a cigarette I sit up straight on the couch. With a gesture I ask her to sit next to me, and she obliges, not without rolling her eyes first. We fall in silence again, staring at each other. I take the box from her hands and pick my own cigarette. She gives me back the lighter. “It’s the last one” I tell her. She shrugs, “You’ll have to buy me a new box then”. I ask her to stop smoking, and she replies she will if I do. It’s a promise; I raise my right hand and put the left one on my chest. “I will stop smoking if you will” I say, solemnly. She smiles, “Bless you, Arthur, I wonder what would I do without you”. I smile back, although I feel like I shouldn’t because of what I’m about to say: “I think… in this case, we both know the answer to that particular question”. And we, one more time, fall silent. It has been a quiet day for us, because we know it’s the last one we’ll spend together. After this, I will no longer be medically responsible for her. But we both have said all we had to say. The sun shines through the open curtain of the studio. Outside, the world seems too still for a Friday afternoon. I ask, “So how do we do this?” and she answers, “That’s your choice. I’ve given you enough tales to tell in a few hundred pages, I think. You’re the one to decide how to write the story down”. She pauses for a puff, and then continues, “I trust in you”. And I say with a smile, “I know”.

Created: Dec 10, 2010

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