Based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Andrew W. McElroy Is a Writer who is Exploring the world through stories and lenses.

Tired | Short Story

Tired | Short Story

I turn over a whisper in her ear, "Dear, it's 6:30. We need to go."

She sighs and growls softly in response. 

I place my hand upon her shoulder and feel the soft skin that is still warm from the sun's harsh rays the day before. I lean in and give her a soft kiss on the cheek and tell her again, "We need to go."

The room was dark and cool, but it smelled fresh with a hint of sea salt. I got up from the bed and put on my pants. She sat on the side of the bed and attempted to brush out the tangles in her hair with her hands. I threw our clothes back in the bag, and went to the bathroom to brush my teeth.

I turned around and leaned up against the door frame and watched her weak silhouette attempt to rise from the bed. She quickly collapsed back onto the bed. I could tell that she began to cry the way her body curled up. 

I spit and tossed my toothbrush back onto the counter. I went over to the bed and crawled back in, pulling the sheets back up over her and I. I wiggled across the king-sized bed and pulled her toward me. I placed my cheek on her tear-soaked cheek and wiped away her tears. I had nothing to say.

Over the past six months, it seemed that I never had anything to say. The doctors said that everyone had different methods of coping. Ever since I was little, I found my coping method to be solving the problem. However, with this, I could find no solution. I could hardly find the words to describe the problem.

I knew our time was fleeting, but I never knew that our lives would be shattered only a year into our marriage. I had no idea that she would be the first. I had no idea that the doctors would come back with such a grim diagnosis. I took off months from work, just to be with her. Yet, as I tried to be present, I couldn't help but worry about what my life would be like after she passed. 

When I shared that thought with my parents, they shamed me for being selfish. How could they know, what it was like to be living with and loving a dying person. They had been married 40 years, all they had known was each other. As each moment passed, it was grueling knowing that the next might be her last, our last.

She broke the silence, "I am tired."

Instantly, she began sobbing again.

We both knew that was not just a physical condition but one of spirit and mental. I pulled her tighter and I wanted to say "It will be okay." But, I knew that would be a lie. All the advice we had gotten was a lie. No one could understand our love, our pain, our torture. 

Tears formed in my eyes, as I knew this was not the same "I am tired" of the past six months. This was one of defeat. This was one where the end was more comforting than the pain of the journey. This was the last.

 

Rest | Poem

Rest | Poem

Brewed | Short Story

Brewed | Short Story