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You never know how much you truly love someone until they’re gone. Esme was the love of my life for as long as I could remember. After high school we got an apartment together, which was the best choice I’ve ever made. She was the happiest girl in the world. She’d always have her long brown hair tied up into a bun on the top of her head. Her bright blue eyes would shine with excitement whenever she was with me. She was by far the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
She soon started to not act like herself. She was getting sick often and wasn’t up for morning runs like she used to be. We took her to the doctors and all they said was “a mild case of pneumonia.” I bought the prescriptions she needed and we headed home.
As the weeks progressed she got worse and worse. She wouldn’t eat or drink anything, causing her to get even more sick. When she turned around, you could see every individual vertebrae in her back. She would sleep all day and cough and cough until all that was coming up was blood. That was the final straw. With much protest, I took her to the hospital where they admitted her. They gave her fluids and tried to get her to eat.
“Miss Reynolds, please, you need to eat” a nurse begged her. Esme simply turned her head and didn’t look at her. The nurse sighed before walking out of the room.
I was about to go and sit down when the doctor pulled me outside.
“Mr. Dixon, I am very sorry to inform you but Miss Reynolds' condition is worsening, we’ve tried everything we can but it doesn’t seem to help,” my ears started to ring. There is no way he just said that to me. I stared at him for a second before feeling my my stomach churn. I looked around quickly before throwing up in the trash can next to me. He stood there looking at me. I wiped my mouth and stood up.
“How long?” I asked, choking on my own words.
“A few hours, a day if she’s lucky.”
I looked at him and he nodded, walking away. She must have known. She hasn’t talked to me all day. She knew this entire time that she was going to die.
I made my way out of the hospital quickly heading back to our apartment. When I got there I put on a nice tux and went to Esme’s closet to pick out a dress. I ran my fingers along the fabric slowly, breathing in the smell of her lavender perfume. A sob wracked through my body as I fell to the floor. I couldn’t believe this was happening.
I sat there for a few minutes before taking a deep breath before standing up. I wiped my eyes and continued to look through her closet. I finally picked a deep purple dress. This was my favorite. She wore this on our first anniversary and I fell in love with her even more. I put the dress into a bag and grabbed a few hair ties and her makeup before heading back to the hospital. When I walked into her room she looked at me strangely.
“What are you doing?” she croaked, sitting up slightly in her bed. I smiled before walking over to her.
“Here let me help you,” I slowly lifted her up so I could slid the dress down her body. She stood breathing heavy but still looking beautiful. I held onto her hands as she stood, swaying a bit. I then pulled the chair up so she could sit down. I started to braid her hair slowly and putting on her makeup.
“Sam, what are you doing?” she asked for the 100th time.
I took her by the hands again and slowly brought her into the bathroom. We stood in front of the mirror but she didn’t want to look at herself. I lifted her chin so she could see her face in the glass. She gasped before a tear slid down her boney cheek. I quickly wiped it away and turned her around to look at her. I gave her a kiss before picking her up. I placed her into a wheelchair and took her up to the roof of the hospital.
There was a table with flowers and candles for us both. I knew she wouldn’t want to eat so we just sat and talked. We reminisced on our times in high school and all of the road trips we’ve taken together.
After a while, I laid her in between my legs as we sat on a blanket looking at the stars. She tilted her head upwards to see tears rolling down my cheeks. She put her fingers up to my cheeks and wiped the salty tears away.
“Stop your crying,” she said. “You’ll be okay. We’ll see each other again. Somewhere so much nicer than this.”
I smiled at her before she continued. “Let's just have the time of our lives and stop talking about everything. No more sick talk, that’s all we say to one another, we don’t have much time, let's not spend it talking about that.”
“Everything will be OK.”
“I love you, Esme Reynolds,” I said, kissing her chapped lips.
“I love you, Samuel Dixon,” she said, kissing me back.
We sat for a while before I felt her not moving. I turned her head towards me and her eyes were shut.
“Esme?” I said, shaking her a bit. Tears fell out of my eyes as I held onto her. I kissed her forehead and held her tightly against my chest.
“Everything will be OK,” I whispered into her hair.
If only I could hold her for the rest of my life.