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Please critique this piece of drama

6 Years Ago


A Story by Rouillie Wilkerson

" A elderly couple, long time married and secrets that are released by alzheimers. Photo by Cris Valencia, flickr, titled: Metro Station in Brussels. "

She opened her eyes a slit, and the hand clutching hers is the man she married, but she doesn’t know him. He hasn’t arrived yet, in her mind.
Knowing this, Martin, her husband, peels sunlight from the window-pane with his eyes, fighting back tears, his lips trembling.  Then pressing his eyelids together, he releases his wife’s hand and draws himself to a far corner in the room.
“Aerowatt?” her voice, all hurt and drama, “How is it that you didn’t save me a crumb, a lick, a sweet etching pressed within the package seams?” her words came out youthful and sensuous, separate from the crackling of a woman she’d become. “Have you gone at last that way that men go,” she teased, “when their nature quickens and spits out spores both imaginary and capable of taking seed?” she flicked her eyebrows a beat; Evelynn had been a poet before her illness.
“Have you imaged me out of your fantasies and imagined yourself in queenly bearings and fancy domains with dominatrix guardianship to teach me a lesson should I disturb you and the princess within?”  This made her chuckle, her voice turning to raspy exhales. 
“Aerowatt?” she hummed through her teeth and barely moving lips. She didn’t notice the creeping, purple, anti-circulation smudging up her legs. 
“Why must she keep saying that?” his throat catching a heavy sting, a barrier against rising tears. “Why Aerowatt?” he said, not needing an answer, only for it to cease coming out of his wife’s mouth.
The sun was sinking in the sky, and had slipped long strips and shadows through the storm glass, warming a spot not needing it behind Martin, above his head. He watched the seams of sunlight.
“Martin, she’s someplace else now…” said the nurse, flipping a page on a chart pulled from a pocket hung on the wall “some…time else.” Placing the chart on the bedside rollaway table, she patted his hand. “You remember don’t you? The brain is like an onion with different layers? Alzheimers just peels it back and discards it.” She searched his face, “She doesn’t recognize you, but she still feels love and senses it in your tone of voice.”
“But why Aerowatt?” He said, his heart pinching to his rib cage. “Fifty years ago she said she barely knew him!” He felt like spitting, but tongued a molar instead while gazing at scuff marks on the convalescent facility floor. 
He and his wife were tested as soon as she started exhibiting signs of dementia.  And right now, it seemed like a hateful fourth party in the room.  Alive and leaching goodness from the woman he’d loved for over 50 years. “She can sense you Martin” the nurse’s voice dropped to a whisper, “these are her final hours…make good on them.”
Make good on them? he thought, and how many of them did Aerowatt make good, and for how long? The nurse motioned him to his wife’s side and lifting one of her slender, purplish limbs, placed a tiny mottled claw in his own.
He drew some consolation knowing that she didn’t know she was ailing.  He also imagined that this was his punishment for not being the kind of man she’d secretly wanted…like Aerowatt.  His eyes searched memories, settling on his pain. My wife gets to die in the arms of another, he thought wincing the truth. And I get to watch it happen. 
“She’ll be leaving us soon, Martin” said the nurse startling him a little.
She actually said us, he thought. The word had weight, like a third wheel gathering dust in the trunk of his car…he was the third wheel.
“Aerowatt?” her air came out in deflating hisses as her body approached a uniform hue, the royal color of death.  It suited her.  Purple had been her favorite color and she wore it well. Only for him, she had said so long ago, only for him. He had believed.
When his wife was diagnosed, it was a trying time for both of them. He had mourned the loss of her prematurely, instead of making every moment count while he was still the man in her life.
The nurse nodded to Martin as she took his wife’s vitals. Her eyes were closed now, and she barely moved; her breathing shallow, surrounded by a gracefully etched grin that softened her face. Aerowatt? She called, until her voice was hidden behind a veil of leaving and her body, a purple bony thing of silence.  Martin too was still, pain leaking from his body and filling up again. Aerowatt his brain echoed, his heart aching, as his wife grew cold.