I loved her because she was simple and understated. She was like a plain white v neck; timeless with a hint of unintentional glory and perfect for sunny Sunday afternoons. We had come so far, we were headed even further. I pictured the future with her by my side. Always. Like a pistol on a duty officer’s waist. I was her holster; or maybe she was mine. Either way, we were perfect for each other and I never, not even for a second, doubted this. She wasn’t the type of person you take for granted.

I don’t know how she managed to steal my heart. It must have been through her smile. The first time I saw her, she was beaming, bright and beautiful. I was scared to approach her, so I didn’t, but fate had other plans. It was her smile that made me come knocking and her demeanor that made me open doors for her. This I did on our first date. I held the door open when I picked her up. I pulled her seat. I watched her eat, glancing at her big beautiful eyes. I did everything right, right until I opened the one door I had never let anyone into. I asked her to spend the rest of my life with me, to mother our children, to make me the happiest man on earth. I wish the moment was as perfect as I had pictured it. I wish the words I had rehearsed a thousand times in front of my dressing mirror came out as perfectly as I thought she was, but they didn’t. As soon as my knee kissed the marble floor at her favourite rooftop, I looked up and got lost into her eyes. I didn’t say a lot on that day. In fact, I don’t recall any of the words I spoke, or in what order I spoke them. All I remember is how she looked at me and gasped in disbelief. I remember her cheeks slowly turning into a light shade of crimson. I remember her palms meeting her face half way. I remember her smile. I remember the first tear falling slowly from her right eye. I remember seeing her take a deep breath, blink once and say the one word every man down on one knee hopes to hear – yes. I remember slowly getting up, looking deep into her eyes, feeling ecstatic before drawing her closer to me. I remember the feeling as my eyelids drew towards each other before our lips touched. ‘This is it!’, I remember thinking.

We got married on a beach, just like she always dreamt. I’d love to tell you about how amazing that day was but I can’t find the right words. Everything was different. We had a pianist in place of a harpist. I was in white linen because she said a tuxedo would make me look like James Bond on a budget – her words exactly. Oh, and she wore blue just because. I should probably also tell you that we were both barefoot because my shoes got wet on the morning of our wedding and she chose to throw hers into the ocean so both of us could experience the white sand between our toes. I remember how happy she was when we kissed as man and wife for the first time. She was magic. My magic.

The story of how we got married isn’t half as beautiful as how we lived. I woke up everyday thinking about my wife. I made pancakes most sunday afternoons. We drank gin and went dancing. We traveled every chance we got; and I loved her more every single day. This didn’t change even when the road got bumpy. I watched her cry every night she thought we were finally pregnant but it turned out we weren’t. I held her hand every time we walked out of, not one but eight different fertility clinics, with every doctor saying the same words – “We just don’t know what’s wrong.”. I watched her grow into depression, drowning herself in her nine to five in an attempt to mask the pain of never having kids of her own. I watched her pick up a bottle everyday after work until it became a problem. We argued about a lot of things. I stopped telling her I loved her, even though I still deeply did. We stopped talking for a while. It was a hard time for both of us. I tried to make things go back to what they were but it was never simple; life was always out to test us.

One bright Saturday morning, everything changed. I drove her to hospital for a CT scan. She always woke up with a headache that didn’t seem to go away. At first, we both thought it was just a nasty hangover. We got her prescription, a small tub of painkillers and had to wait a week for the results. I wasn’t worried, neither was she. There was no reason to be.

A week later, this would change, when we sat at her doctor’s office as he explained that she had a tumor the size of a grape behind her eye. I remember her reaction to date. She smiled all through. She thanked the doctor for his advice and walked away as he started talking about further tests and possibly, surgery. I stayed and asked every question that came to mind. “How long has she had this tumor? Is it treatable? Does my insurance cover the treatment?” One, in particular, I asked over and over. “Will she die?”

I left shortly and walked to the parking lot and saw an empty space where I had parked my car. She was gone. I panicked for a while, before calling her twice. She didn’t answer. It was unlike her to be this irrational but I understood she needed time to reflect. Life had tossed us another lemon, about the size of a grape. I walked to a nearby bar and asked for a whiskey double; a few times before asking for the whole bottle. After settling my bill, I called a taxi and went home. Halfway through the door, I started calling her name, to no response. I knew she was home; my car was parked outside . I staggered upstairs and right into our bedroom. The first thing that greeted me was a note on the night stand with eight words in her handwriting –

“No One deserves to suffer this much pain.”

I read it once and sobered up immediately. The bathroom door was still open. I dashed right through it. There she was, in the bathtub, wearing her wedding dress; a bottle of whiskey neatly tucked between her thighs – lifeless.

When I look back at what we were, all I think of is what we weren’t – yet. What we could have been. I think about what was going through her mind as she drove the razor into her wrists, thirteen times. I think of why she didn’t tell me this is how she wanted to punch out. I think about what I could have done different. I think about who she meant when she penned her last words. I think about where she is and if it really is a better place. I think of who we were; two mistakes perfect for each other. I think about these things every single day.

As I stood on the same beach we exchanged our vows seven years ago, holding the urn she was in, I thought to myself – ‘This is it.’

***

Mwass identifies as a future adult, half human and a third bad at fractions. Sometimes, he write short stories on pictures.

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