Counting the Days

Counting the Days

A Story by Craig2591
"

On the third day she dropped her glass of lemonade.

"

On the third day she dropped her glass of lemonade. They were sitting on his back patio enjoying the morning air when it happened. He was in the rocking chair and she was in the chaise. The glass just slipped through her fingers and shattered on the concrete. They stared at the broken shards for several seconds in silence, their portent obvious.


“Oh, I'm so sorry, Matthew,” she finally broke the tense silence.


“Don't apologize,” he replied, “It's not your fault.”


“You should've given me a plastic tumbler instead.”


He smiled and shook his head. “It's okay. I never liked those glasses anyway. Trudy bought them.”


She got off the chaise to help him clean up the mess. He was going to protest but stopped himself. He would let her still feel useful for a while longer.


On the fifth day she didn't eat her breakfast. He'd made blueberry pancakes, her favorite. She was losing weight fast and it concerned him. After one bite she pushed her plate away.


“I'm not hungry,” she said softly.


“Come on, Patty,” he replied as he pushed her plate back in front of her, “You have to keep your strength up.”


She turned to him with a derisive look. “What for?”


Her reply pierced him like an arrow. But she was right. What was the point?


He stared at their dishes for several moments. Then without another word he stood up and cleared the table.


On the seventh day he was doing the laundry while she napped when he heard her call from the living room.


“Matthew! Come quick!”


He rushed to the living room and found her sitting up on the sofa looking around the room wide-eyed.


“A bird got in here!” she said.


He searched the room with his eyes. “Where?”


“There! It just flew by me. Didn't you see it?”


A sudden feeling of dread came over him. He remembered the day they'd left the hospital and one of the nurses had discreetly pulled him aside.


“She may go through periods of confusion as it progresses,” she'd told him in a hushed voice, “She may even hallucinate. If it becomes a problem let us know and we'll adjust her meds. Sometimes that helps.”


“There it is!” Patty pointed, “In the corner. Catch it and take it outside before it messes on everything.”


He went over to the corner knowing that there was no bird. He didn't know what to do. Should he pretend to catch it and take it out? Would he fool her? Then he turned to her and smiled.


“I have an idea. I'll open the window and then we'll go outside and sit while it finds its own way out. I'm afraid if I try to catch it, it might panic and hurt itself.”


She looked thoughtful for a few moments and then nodded. “That's a good idea.”


He opened the window and then helped her up from the sofa. As they headed for the back door he noticed that her legs were unsteady as she walked, despite her attempt to hide it. He followed close behind her, ready to catch her if she stumbled.


On the eighth day he found her lying on the bathroom floor in a puddle of urine.


“I'm so sorry, Matthew,” she sobbed as he removed her clothes and helped her into the bathtub, “My legs just gave out.”


“Stop apologizing!” he scolded as he rinsed her off with the sprayer, “This is not your fault!”


“I just don't want to be a burden to you,” she said tearfully, “You should have left me at the hospital.”


“We've already been over that. I won't let you go through this alone. It's not open to discussion.”


As he was lifting her out of the tub she had a sudden attack of nausea and vomited on both of them without warning. He lowered her back into the tub and began rinsing her again.


She started to pound the side of the tub with her fist. “If I have to die, why can't I just close my eyes and do it!” she shouted angrily, “Why do I have to go through all of this goddamn humiliation! Why!


The outburst sapped what little energy she had and she collapsed against the back of the tub, sobbing uncontrollably. It broke his heart to see her like that. He finished rinsing her and dried her off. By then she was all sobbed out and lying back with a blank stare.


“This is how most of us die,” he said calmly, “I have to assume that there will come a day when someone will have to change my diaper and wipe the drool from my chin.”


She actually smiled a little. He picked her up and began to carry her to her bed. She protested that he would hurt his back.


“Nonsense,” he replied, “You weigh barely more than a feather.”


He put her in the hospital bed that his sister, Gwen, had rented for them. Gwen had wanted to hire a private nurse, too, but Matthew wouldn't have it. That would be too expensive even for Gwen. He helped Patty put on a t-shirt and pulled the blanket up to her waist. She looked tired and frail. Her eyes had dark circles and her pale skin looked translucent. She was declining so fast.


“Would you like me to read some more?” he asked, trying to sound cheerful.


She gave a barely perceptible nod. He grabbed a novel from the dresser and pulled up a chair.


“Do you think we'll finish it in time?” she asked in a tired voice, “Maybe you should just go ahead and tell me how it ends now.”


He shook his head. “Not yet,” he smiled, “We still have time.”


He opened the book and began reading to her...





© 2015 Craig2591


Author's Note

Craig2591
As always, suggestions and constructive criticisms are welcome.

My Review

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Featured Review

A very sad story. Yet beautiful with the power of love, compassion and caring.
If only we all could die at home with someone who loves us there at the end.
Great writing, this was smooth and easy to read. It brought teas to my eyes.
I wanted an ending yet don't really know if I do.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing.
Tina Kline

8 Years Ago

You're very welcome.



Reviews

This is a very sad story but well done for tackling it as is part of life´s story - a part that we pretend doesn´t happen! You have portrayed the love between the two very well.
Very well done!
Regards,
Alan


Posted 6 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

6 Years Ago

Thank you very much.
Aaww...it is a good story
Nice job sir..


Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craigslist, I still can't read stories like this without blubbering like a baby. This is realistic and the actions and words are true to life. Good luck in the short story contest!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

7 Years Ago

Thank you, Barb.
Barbara Walker

7 Years Ago

I just saw that auto correct called you craigslist! Sorry about that!
Craig2591

7 Years Ago

Ha! I didn't even notice.
A very sad story. Yet beautiful with the power of love, compassion and caring.
If only we all could die at home with someone who loves us there at the end.
Great writing, this was smooth and easy to read. It brought teas to my eyes.
I wanted an ending yet don't really know if I do.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing.
Tina Kline

8 Years Ago

You're very welcome.
Beautiful story. It hits close to home. My sister died at home from cancer. She just faded away.
You have a good narrative ability and the story flowed well.
Well done.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you. I sorry to hear about your sister.
I applaud you on how well you wrote this. It's an interesting piece. All I found wrong were a few grammar things, but I do have a different style, so it's nothing to fret over. Keep writing.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you very much.
I'm drawing a blank on suggestions. This was beautifully written, though very sad. You convey the emotions well and the dialogue flows naturally

Posted 8 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you.
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
K.
Aghhhhh, Craig! This was so good. Like what the other commenters said, there really isn't anything to fix! It tells a story filled with tons of feeling and imagery in a short amount of time. Great write! Glad to have you back!!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Wow! And to think I almost didn't post this. Thank you!
K.

8 Years Ago

I'm glad you did!!
I don't have suggestions. This a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you for reading and reviewing.
I have no suggestions, and I read this through twice, looking for anythig that might be improved. It is a great story.

Posted 8 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Craig2591

8 Years Ago

Thank you very much.

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1149 Views
10 Reviews
Rating
Added on July 26, 2015
Last Updated on July 26, 2015
Tags: death, dying, love, sickness, illness

Author

Craig2591
Craig2591

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About
I am a visual artist with no formal training in creative writing. I get stories knocking around my head and sometimes I write them down. I decided to join this site to share them with other writers .. more..

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