Is this real? It can't be.
Come back, I miss you! Although I grasp your hand like an anchor you are already slipping away. You appear so peaceful lying there, your face worn and tired and your lips curving into a minute smile; but I know inside your mind a battle is taking place. I know that your brain is screaming in protest, willing you to hold on. But there's nothing you can do and worst of all, nothing I can do.
I'm oblivious to my surroundings, the pearly white walls, pristine bed-covers and worried nurses. I desperately drink in your fragile image, scrutinizing every single detail from the azure flecks in your otherwise golden eyes to the tips of your bitten nails- acknowledging that this might be one of the last times I ever set eyes on you. Everything seems to be taking place in slow-motion. This isn't happening. It can't be!
For a moment our eyes lock, fitting together like two puzzle pieces- your pleading ones onto my desperate ones. Treasured memories pass between us. Whispered secrets, shared jokes, solemn promises. Good times. Toasting marshmallows over a scorching fire, lazing on a beach- watching the waves wash over jagged rocks, darting round the forest in a playful game of tag. It's as if we're both surrounded by a bubble, everyone else gazing inwards. We don't speak. To utter a single letter would be too painful and I would surely break down in tears. I can't let that happen, it wouldn't be fair on you.
For a second your glance wavers but then snaps back again. I realize how frightened you are. Your soft, chocolate-brown hair fans out around your head like a halo and despite your hospital nightgown you are still stunning. Not necessarily how you visibly look, but your heart has always radiated with so much joy and light that now it's overflowed and is illuminating your whole body.
Suddenly a stream of sunlight flits through the gap in the curtains and beams down on you and me. I feel your grip slacken and I desperately try to clasp on. I am your lifeline in a raging storm, we can fight this. Although you are still gazing at me your eyes are unfocused and glassy. It's too late. You have drifted away taking with you a piece of my heart, wrenched off from the rest.
As your wrist falls to your side I reach down and gently close your eyelids. I can feel your dark lashes are spiky with tears. It is then that I gradually return to the real world, firstly noticing a continuous beep emitting from a screen along with a straight, horizontal line.
As I descend the steps to the first-floor another thought occurs to me. When we were small children I would take you down to the garden before bed and we would lie tranquilly, staring transfixed at the twinkling stars. I would always point out the North Star to you, It seemed important at the time. I know that now -if you are up there- that you will be watching me always. Protecting me forever. With me ad infinitum.
Goodbye, I miss you...