Cause there’s no comfort in the waiting room
Just nervous paces bracing for bad news
And then the nurse comes round
And everyone lifts their head
But I’m thinking of what Sarah said
That love is watching someone die
So who’s gonna watch you die…?
He could see it, every second he spent around her was another second ticked closer to her death, and he hated it. Every added line around her eyes and mouth, every stretch-mark, every gray hair, every little thing about her that changed, he saw in detail.
She grew out of clothes and he had to leave the room while she threw them out.
She grew taller and he had to watch her reach for something on flat feet instead of her toes.
She grew out of habits and he missed the way she once acted at night when she’d been scared of the dark.
She kept growing, and he had to watch, and he could do nothing about it. She was dying, day by day, before his eyes, and he had no power to stop it. And one day, he knew she’d stop dying, but that was far away and too painful to think about, so he pretended it didn’t exist.
Funny, how telling himself she’d go on dying forever was better than thinking about the day she’d stop. Stop everything.
Stop laughing at his jokes, stop smiling about the little wonders around her, stop writing, stop loving, stop breathing… Stop dying.
“You look grim.”
He jumped when she spoke, because he hadn’t heard her get close. She was hovering beside him, an eyebrow arched in silent question, waiting for him to explain why he was looking like death warmed over.
“What about?” She sat beside him, still watching him, and he had to force himself not to look back.
Her eyes had changed color over time, and he always forgot about it until she was close enough for him to see the rings of gold around her pupils. She wore make up now, had contacts, earrings and jewelry she had made… She wasn’t a little girl anymore.
“You.” He braved the waters, turning to give her a thin smile. “I’ll miss you.”
She didn’t have to ask for any further explanation, after that, she simply nodded and pulled her knees up to her chest, wriggling her toes as she thought some too.
“I’ll miss you.” She repeated back to him. “But that’s a long time from now, right?”
He swallowed the lump in his throat as her fate played out in his mind. He knew how it would happen, when, why… He knew who would be there to see it happen, who would hold her hand and cry over her corpse. He knew.
“Right.” He whispered, holding back tears he hadn’t realized were about to fall. “A very long time.”
“Then why worry about it?” She asked, pressing her shoulder to his. “It’ll just make you sad.”
“I try to come up with ways to keep it from happening. Which is stupid, I know, but…” He stopped himself, almost letting slip how it would happen. “I don’t want to lose you.”
She slipped her hand into his, short fingers intertwining with his longer ones, and he could feel callouses on her hands that hadn’t been there once upon a time; another sign of time ticking on without any regard or him or his feelings.
“When it happens, can you do me a favor?” She asked, running her thumb against his.
“Anything for you, Madam.”
She bit her lips shut, thinking, and then continued in a whisper. “Will you stay? Until it’s over?”
He swallowed thickly, nodding, not trusting his vocal chords.
He pulled her to him, wrapping her in a crushing hug, burying his face in her hair, breathing her in as he wept softly. She returned the embrace, fingers digging into his shirt as she pulled him closer, whispering over and over that she was right there, and nothing could hurt her so long as she was in his arms.
And he wanted to believe her, but he knew better.
Love is watching someone die
So who’s gonna watch you die…?
Song of the Day: What Sarah Said by Death Cab For Cutie