Editor’s Choice: Short Love Story – Forget to Remember
Losing someone is painful. But losing her was like dying.
My single tea cup tasted like tears. In sixty-three years, I’d never had one without her. In sixty-three years, I was never alone. She was gone, my beloved wife. Gone to the heavens in which she used to believe.
“It would be alright,”
She’d said to me when we knew all was over. My wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about a year ago. From there on, we knew how hard life would be. We made promises of laughing the rest of our lives away and somehow, we did.
“I want to apologize now for the things I’d do later,” She said.
“You don’t have to. You never have to,” I said as she looked at me hurtfully.
“Please forgive me if I forget where I put my things and where I was.”
“No, dear. Stop.”
“Forgive me if I am giving you a hard time.”
“I’m sorry if I forget everything.”
And I didn’t say anything.
“I’ll try my best,” she choked on a sob, “to not forget your name.”
The tears started to flow.
It all began with little things like words and then on to forgetting if she had made me dinner. All seem hard at first but then the rhythm fell in and we swept up from there. Over the past few weeks, we’d revisited all the times we’d spent together.
We’d wake up every morning and write down what we would do that day. In morning breath, hazy vision and bad handwriting, we’d scribble down errands for the both of us. I’d arise first and prepare something for us while she yelled at me for thinking of her as weak. I’d say that it was a competition and I’d lost so doing the housework was my fee. She’d laugh and then slowly return to her bed.
And now to think back without her feels like a punishment. Every day seems like a drag now. I wonder if she would appear from behind the curtains and smile at me. I picture her at the door, standing there and just staring at me with her ocean eyes. I sleep on her side of the bed, hoping to feel the same warmth again.
The final few days were glum. Those were the only days which were in which I felt completely lost. They were filled with a silent chaos. She’d walk around, trying to remember what she was doing and then come back crying to me and then forget why she was crying. And then I’d tell her that everything was alright, when I knew it was not. Those days, somehow I knew that the end was near and soon I’d lose the only thing that mattered in my life. I had a fear of losing everything that I was. I never once, in all that time, regretted helping her. Never did I ever think of it all as a ‘burden’ or duty of sort. I did all out of the love we had in between us in all these years.
Sometimes at night I’d awake and wonder what life would be without her. It is colourless and slow. Everything seems stopped in time and only filled with wishful thinking of what my life was.
What our life was.
The empty counters and the empty chair next to mine, the silent house is deafening.
It seemed all too painful. As I stood in our tiny garden, I remembered her intense dislike for daisies and how it reminded her of funerals. Funny, most of the people brought the same for her. The funeral was held in the early hours of morning. People came, shared a sympathetic pat on the shoulder and then left. It had been hours since the last guest left but I was still standing there. I wanted to be the last one to see her go. I wanted to be the only one to be there when she was finally leaving forever.
And there I stood, as the rain poured in a drizzle, still keeping the promises we’d made to never let go.