“Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal,
but love leaves a memory
no one can steal.”
“You never give time to me anymore!” he complained, whining.
I rolled my eyes. “That’s because I’m preparing to marry you. When that happens, all of time is yours don’t worry.”
I laughed, “Stop being so dramatic. I have to go for dress trials. Talk to you later. Love you,” I said into the phone and cut the call.
“You ready to go?” Cassandra said, popping her head into my room.
“Yep,” I said, and quickly slipped into my flip flops, “let’s go.”
We got into a cab and made our way to the bridal shops. We went yesterday and had a session booked, where one of the locker rooms would be given to me, to change and try out new dresses.
We entered and were greeted by the friendly lady sitting at the desk.
“So you nervous?” Cassandra asked me.
“What’s there to be nervous about?” I asked. Should I be nervous?
“Ha. Well if you’re not nervous that’s good. When I was choosing my dress I was freaking out.” She said, giving me a smile.
“Well, proves how pathetic you are.” I teased.
“No more than you,” she muttered.
“Whenever you’re done bickering,” a female voice interrupted us, “ladies, I shall show you towards the dressing rooms.”
I looked down, embarrassed and followed her. It was hard to believe we were 23.
We went towards the racks, and checked out the dresses.
“This should do well,” the lady picked out. “You can choose your own, of course, but we will pick out the ones according to your complexion, height, figure, keeping in mind what looks best on you.”
She handed me a white net dress. I tried it on, and the lady was right. It fit me perfectly and brought out my green eyes. It made me look slimmer than I was, and with a pair of heels would make me look taller.
“I want this one.” I said, as soon as I came outside.
“You look breathtaking,” Cassandra said, looking me up and down, “and I’m sure Jacob will think that too.”
And she snapped a photo of me. Before I could get to her and stop her she said, “I’ve already sent it,
Liz,” and grinned.
I cursed under my breath, and went to the counter.
“Are you sure you want to try this? You might also wants to look at others.” The lady suggested.
Me and Cassandra both shook our heads.
“Well then, over here,” she gestured towards the counter.
We packed the dress, and it was just perfect.
We paid for the dress and left.
True friendship is amazing
I heard my phone ring. Cassandra snatched it from me before I had the chance to even see who it was from.
“Look, I know you love her, but it’s like, the last week we have together, Jacob,” she whined into the phone.
“Hey give me that,” I said, taking it from her.
“Hey Jacob.” I greeted.
“Hi. You want to meet up for some ice cream?” he asked.
“I’m with Cassandra right now, come join us?” I suggested.
“Haha, no. You girls do your thing. I’ll catch up with you later.” He said.
We said our goodbyes, at which Cassandra gagged and scoffed, and we headed for ice cream.
According to them, this was my last week ‘single’ so I should be with my girlfriends. Jacob didn’t complain much, and I told him to hang out with the guys too.
So we did. We watched seasons and seasons of TV shows, watched chick flicks as if our lives depended on it. We stayed up late, talking and giggling, doing each others hair.
I admit, everyone was exaggerating. I was just getting married. I wasn’t dying or anything.
It was the 19th of September. Tomorrow, I’d be marrying the love of my life.
Perfection is unnatural
Lying in bed, all I could do was day dream. Everything was so perfect. I’d gotten my degree, Jacob had a stable job. He asked me “the question” and now we were going to spend our life together.
I’d even got the perfect dress.
“It’s Jacob,” she panted, “he’s sick.”
My eyebrows shot up. “Sick how?”
“Go,” she panted, giving me the keys, “go now.”
I took the keys and got into the car. My silly little Jacob. This was probably something that he was planning – some sort of surprise for me.
I was glad he lived so close. I rushed into the house, and found him on the bed.
What I saw – it was something I was NOT prepared for.
When nothing seems right
In bed was Jacob. He was unrecognizable. His eyes were bloodshot, his hair a mess. There was blood all over his pillow, and he was coughing like there was no tomorrow.
“Jacob!” I said, running to him, “what happened?”
“I love you,” he said, coughing in between, “I love you so much. I’m so sorry.”
“No, no, no,” I muttered, “don’t you dare. What’s wrong?”
He coughed like a mad man while his brother, Jesse, walked in and told me.
“The doctors cant figure it out,” Jesse said, “it’s sort of food poisoning – but disastrous and very quick. He started coughing up blood a few hours ago. We took him to the hospital, they tried everything but it wont stop. We called you but you never picked up. So he’s been here. It’s been a while. No one can do anything.”
I tried to remember what I was doing a few hours ago. Giggling, braiding Cassandra’s hair. While my husband-to-be was here dying.
“I’m so sorry,” I said, sobbing and shaking so hard I couldn’t stand.
“Sh,” Jacob managed, “it’s okay.”
“We were, in my room and the music was so loud I didn’t hear the phone ring. I’m sorry Jacob I’m so sorry.” I said.
“It’s okay,” he said, “you’re here now.”
He patted the place beside me, where the sheets were clean. I went and snuggled up to him, ignoring how bad he was coughing. We didn’t say anything. He’d stop coughing for a bit, and then he’d start coughing even harder than before.
There was nothing I could do. No amount of water, back rubbing could fix anything. No medication, no painkillers could do anything.
The person who I’d do anything for was lying so sick right in my arms and I couldn’t do anything about it. No matter how rich I was, no matter how much I loved him – I couldn’t help him. I couldn’t help him with my money or my love.
And I hated it. I hated feeling this way. I loved him. Surely there must be something? But nothing worked. And he continued to cough and sputter blood, until no more.
Until he lay, peaceful in my arms. And for a moment I almost believed that he was sleeping.
I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t laugh. I wanted to scream but no sound came out.
Jacob lay in my arms, peaceful. His eyes closed, and the ghost of a smile on his lips. He looked like he was sleeping.
Only when I’d check for his pulse would I realize that there is none. Only then would the horrifying truth come crashing down, and I’d ignore it again. I’d look at him, and I’d smile.
It was Jesse who came to me. He gently removed Jacob from my arms, and gathered me into his. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t hug him back. I couldn’t.
I didn’t cry. I didn’t sob. I couldn’t feel anything. It was like seeing something but not really hearing it.
After a while Jesse came to pick up Jacob, and I didn’t let him. I screamed and shouted. I yelled at the top of my lungs. Jesse tried to soothe me. He tried to tell me it was okay. It didn’t work. Nothing worked.
They were taking Jacob away now. And I struggled as Jesse and Cassandra held me in place. I couldn’t breathe. I collapsed onto the floor, and Jesse with me. We stayed like that for hours, staring at the ceiling but not really looking anywhere.
Days passed on, turning into weeks. Only my mother came into my room to give me food. No one else. I didn’t talk. I couldn’t sleep.
He was gone. Every day I’d wait for his grinning face to appear at the door, for him to call me. But nothing happened.
After the 24th day, I went outside. My father was shocked to see me leave the room. I didn’t even go to his funeral. It was pathetic, seeing all those random people from school, college and his workplace. They all pretended to be so sad. So hurt. Tomorrow they would go back to their lives.
What did they care?
Just thinking about it made me sick. He was gone. I needed fresh air.
It took me months to function like a human being again. It took me double that time to smile. And even when I did, it felt strained. It felt forced.
The only person I decided to see after my parents was Jesse. He wanted to meet me. He asked me again and again but I refused. Finally, I went to his house.
“Hey,” he said, smiling. I could see in his smile, that like mine, it was strained.
“Hi,” I breathed, my voice raspy. I had barely talked in months.
“How are you doing?” he asked.
I laughed at that – loudly. But then a sob escaped my mouth before I could force it down. He was instantly by my side, rubbing my arm.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“I was partying. With friends. While he was dying.” I said, sobbing. “We didn’t talk for weeks. I kept putting him off. I told him we were getting married. The girls wanted to be with me. And now, he’s gone.”
“Hey, shhh,” he soothed, pulling me into a hug, “it’s not your fault. You know its not. These things, they have to happen, in their set predefined time. You cant stop them. The best part is, you were there for him in the end. That’s all that matters. I’m sure he appreciates that.”
Jesse sounded so much like Jacob, it made my heart ache.
I left home, and I visited Jesse every now and then. He made me feel a lot better. Maybe it was his voice, and his resemblance to Jacob. It made me feel like I was at home. It made me feel better.
Everything is okay in the end
Jacob and I, we were together forever.
And I know that Jacob would want me to move on. He would want me to find someone else. To start a new life. Have kids.
But I could never. I could never do that.
Jacob would be forever in my mind and memory. He’s gone from this world, but he stays forever in my heart. And I would never give another man the place that he was supposed to occupy in my life. I couldn’t, even if I wanted to.
Like I said, Jacob and I, we are together forever…