By Allie - December 13, 2013

It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”
― John Steinbeck,
The Winter of Our Discontent

      “The pain will go away eventually,” the doctor assured as he placed the latest X-Ray onto the blank white screen. Bill knew that the man was referring to his wife's painful brain tumor, but he couldn't help but feel like the comment was directed toward his own sadness over the whole ordeal. It had been several months since she was diagnosed, but the realization that she might actually die had never been allowed into his mind. That is, until the solid mass shoved deep inside his wife's head stared back at him from the brightly lit screen.
      Sara squeezed her husband's hand while looking up at the doctor. “I really hope you're right about that.” As the words left her lips, Bill smiled reassuringly. However, she could sense that his smile was about as objective as reality television. He had a hard time feeling optimistic with his wife looking the way she did. Her once beautiful porcelain skin had faded to a pale and blotchy canvas, and her lustrous brunette hair had given way to a dome of bare skin. Even the blue coloring of her eyes appeared to have dimmed to a dull gray. “Well, I don't know about you two, but I am ready for bed,” she gasped between breaths.
      “Are you sure you don't want me to stay with you tonight, Dear?”
      “Oh, thanks, but I can't subject you to an early breakfast of hospital food,” she laughed. “Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I'll be right here what you get back.”
      “I know you will be.” Bill's strong and deep voice was starting to give way to a raspy and tearful cry. “I love you,” he whispered as he leaned in to kiss her smooth, bald head.
      “I love you too.”
      The doctor began to pull the crisp pale blue sheet around her bed, blocking her off from the outside world. As Bill looked at the shadow of his dying wife, a whole lifetime of memories came flooding into his mind. He thought back to the day he met Sara, and the instant connection that he had felt with her. Once opposed to blind dates, Bill had never expected to meet someone like her. Sara was beautiful, yet approachable. Her sense of humor was quick, and he felt as though the two of them could talk for hours. Every morning Bill woke up, he thanked the day for blessing him with the wonderful gift of love that could never be transcended.
      “Have a good night, Mr. Miller.” Bill smiled in reply toward the nurse behind the front counter. Same nurse, same automatic doors, same long walk out to his car. The routine of these daily visits was blurring together into one massive bout of autopilot. Not much longer, he thought as he sat down in his car. She'll get better. The sun was starting to set, and he caught himself staring at it until it could no longer be seen. Then he drove off in the direction of his sister's house, wishing instead that he could head in the direction of the past.

- Allie

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