The Better to See

The Better to See

A Story by Will
"

A different kind of love story

"
Simon lay in his bed, sheets taut around his wrinkled, brittle frame. His arms lay atop the sheets, uncovered, with an intravenous unit methodically dripping morphine into his left arm. The oxygen machine next to the bed stood tall, like a soldier standing guard over the frail old man. The room smelt like a hospital, and medical equipment was scattered throughout; insulin needles and bottles of pills in disarray on the nightstand to the right of the bed. Between the pills and needles stood a simple frame, containing an old black and white photo of a stunning young woman, with full, shoulder length dark hair, bright, vibrant eyes, and a face that would floor any man.

Simon's bedding was a crisp, fresh white, and it practically mirrored his complexion. He insisted on wearing his thick, heavy horn rimmed glasses, even in bed, so that he could see his room better. Off towards the left of the room, behind where the door opens to, was a titanic bookshelf, filled with tremendous volumes and old classics. It nearly filled the whole wall, looking like a rustic library. The walls were a soft shade of yellow, which brightly reflected the light coming from the ceiling fan bulbs and the lamp on the nightstand. His nurse would repeatedly ask him, in her thick Carribbean accent, why he kept both lights on. Each time she asked, he would chuckle, cough, and say, "Of course, the better to see."

The true reason he left the lights just so was for Martha. When he used to come home from the factory, the lights in the living room were done the same way; the ceiling fan lights and the coffee table lamp. Everyday, he would put his lunch pail down on the coffee table and turn off the lamp. Before he could even flip the switch all the way, Martha would call from the kitchen, in a voice both as sweet as a bell and as sharp as a tack, "Simon Marchand, turn that lamp back on!"

"Any particular reason why, honey?"

"Of course," Martha would retort, "the better to see, obviously!"

Every day, for almost sixty years, husband and wife would have that exact same exchange. From when they were married in 1942, him 21 and she 18, until 2001, when Martha passed away. Simon thought she was just as beautiful on the day she passed than when the photo on his nightstand was taken in 1950.

Of course, the last few years were a bit different than the ones before. Instead of that exchange taking place in their home, it happened in a foreign, sterilized hospital room. Sterilized for protection against germs, it also sterilized against the familiar comforts of home. Sadly, this room had become Martha's home after 1993.

In that year, Martha had been diagnosed with ALS. With no cure then or now, Martha's condition slowly detoriated. She lost her mobility first, confined to a wheelchair and, later, to the bed. She soon lost nearly all range of motion, and soon after that, her sight. Years and years this went on, but one thing Martha never lost was love. She loved Simon, and he loved her. He was at her bedside when she passed away, his beautiful bride taken by an ugly disease.

After Martha's passing, the family split apart. One son in Cleveland, a daughter in Oneonta, and the other son in Miami. A littany of grandchildren only a few of which, to his own discontent, Simon actually knew the names of. He stayed at home, in the simple little house he and Martha had always had, fostering their love and raising their children. Now, Simon was an old man, 92 years old, and alone. His time was to come.

Simon turned his head slightly, facing towards his nurse. She sat in the armchair on the other side of the room, waiting to give him his medications. He raised one arm, lifting the oxygen mask from his face. In a thin, raspy voice, but one that sounded as if it had once been strong, he said "Ms. Jones, could you please turn out the lights?"

Ms. Jones was a bit taken aback. Usually, Simon would fall asleep with the lights on, and then she would turn them off once he was asleep. Since he seldom slept for more than six hours, she would always turn them back on after five and a half. That way, both lights were always on for him.

"Of all days," she asked, her island attitude in full swing, "why today to turn the lights off, Mr. Simon?"

He grinned, saying, "I think it's time for a good long nap. Let's give the lights a rest."

Without any further questions, she turned the lights off. Before he drifted off to sleep, she said, "Remember, medicine when you wake up." He silently nodded his head.

Ms. Jones left to use the bathroom, and when she returned, Simon had passed in his sleep. For the first time, now and forever, the lights were out in the Marchand household.

© 2013 Will


Author's Note

Will
Haven't written a story in a while, so I'm trying to shake off the rust. Feedback always appreciated.

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Reviews

THis is pretty good. The last part is very touching, very meaningful.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

Thank you very much, Marie. Glad you liked it.
Oh Will. This is a lovely story. Simon and Martha had such a love story, didn't they? The ending was perfect. I can see his girl with open arms (and glowing lamps!) on the other side. Angi~

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

The best love story is one that never ends, and that's what we have here. Thanks for reading!
What a beautiful love story!
And extremely well written.
I enjoyed this very much. You write like a professional.

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

Thank you very much, Angel.
FINALLY! A STORY! YAAAAYYYYY

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

Getting back in a story writing groove now!
Careline

7 Years Ago

and I am excited for it! I think you are a much better storyteller than a poet to be honest although.. read more
Will

7 Years Ago

I will! You got it!
Jesus Will! Thanks brother....a lot lot thanks to you for sharing such a lovely story. Its awesome, pure love and emotion...its said, IF ITS NOT FOREVER, ITS NOT LOVE...your story depicts it exactly...it touched my heart...luvd it!

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

That sentiment of forever is what I really wanted to display, so I'm glad it came through that clear.. read more
Oh, Will - this is a beautiful story, expertly penned. Your descriptions of the setting are clear, and you write of this couple as if you were a fly on the wall of their marriage. And yes, I teared up while reading this. Bravo! Keep writing!

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

Oh wow, I'm glad you connected it with it like that. Thanks so much, Rita.
I have always felt that the kind of Love that our youth lacks is "Love forever. Till death sets us apart"
This kind if love is found only in oldies.
You have written exactly on the same.
:)

Posted 7 Years Ago


Will

7 Years Ago

That's the love people should be looking for. Thanks for reading, Mary
Mary Christabel George

7 Years Ago

Yes, you are right...
Welcome Will......:)

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7 Reviews
Added on July 15, 2013
Last Updated on July 15, 2013
Tags: Love, life, old, elderly, death, ALS, disease, medicine, sleep, lamp, light

Author

Will
Will

Brooklyn, NY



About
Well now that I have the patience, I'll actually write something here. I'm Will, and I'm 16 years old going on 17 , born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I write what appeals to me. I just love writ.. more..

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