Friday, August 13, 2010

Full Circle

He sat on the bed rubbing her back.

She moaned, then cried softly as she usually did when he touched her now.

When she was pregnant with their first child all those years ago, he would move his young hands and firmly press down and circle that spot in the small of her back.

Yes, right there, she would say, exactly there - but more slowly, please.

So he would slow his stroke and circle and caress until she fell asleep. In the morning, she would kiss him awake.

It was the same when the passing years brought two more children.

When she once told him not to bother waking up for her, he said he did not mind, that they married for better or for worse, and his rubbing her back was meant to make it better.

It does, she said.

Tonight, the oncologists came up to him as he paced in the family waiting room and told him again that all they could do now was to make her comfortable until the inevitable. They urged him to go home to rest for a while, but he shook his head. He turned to his daughter and sons and asked them to go home to their spouses and children until tomorrow.

After they left, he went to her private hospital room to sit with her for another night.

I can't do this anymore, he said now as he listened to her tears while he moved his age-speckled hands and gently pressed down with fingers that slowly circled and lightly caressed that spot.

She stopped crying.

No, don't say that.

But it hurts you, he said.

It does.

I only want to make it better, he told her, and lifted his hands to wipe his eyes.

I know, she said.

Later, she watched him sleep beside her. At least for another night, she fought her body's command that it was time to go.

In the morning, she kissed him awake.


© 2010 Marisa Birns

56 comments:

  1. Lovely and heartbreaking at the same time. Beautiful, Marisa.

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  2. This was heart-breakingly beautiful. Really exquisite. The ending was perfection.

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  3. Alice this is gorgeous, tender, heart-wrenching. I loved it..:)

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  4. Not many stories make me cry but this one did. Wonderful words.

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  5. A beautiful and heart-crushing piece. I could put myself in his place and felt every nuance. Gorgeously written.

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  6. Moving reminder of how the hands grow older and time left gets shorter...sooner than we think.

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  7. Aw no. You made me cry. This is beautiful.

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  8. Marisa, you brought tears to my eyes this morning with your beautiful story. Instead of feeling sad for this couple, I want to recognise their good fortune to have each other through the years. We should all be so lucky. Well done.

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  9. Stunning. Just absolutely stunning.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  10. oh wow. this is so beautiful, the tenderness of a couple through time. made my eyes well up, too.

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  11. Awww. This was so sweet and endearing and now I wanna cry. Good work Marisa!

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  12. A very moving piece, Marisa. To have someone through the years means so much and at the end of life, so important. Very say and brought tears with every word.

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  13. So sad, Marisa. I have tears.

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  14. Reminds me of how I end up rubbing my significant other's back all the time. Even got me all misty-eyed. Good job :)

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  15. Marisa, you made me cry. Such a beautiful story.

    Helen

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  16. A heartbreaking tale well told!

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  17. Oh wow that is heartbreaking. I have welled up.
    Well done, your writing is wonderful.

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  18. I have tears now. Just a gorgeous, intimate piece. Beautifully done, Marisa.

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  20. Warning: Do not apply mascara before reading this post. Sad, lovely, and beautifully written.

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  21. Nicely done, Dear. You captured what it means to grow old together with someone you love. (whimper: I have that "spot" as well)

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  22. Tender and beautiful - thank you for this, made me cry.

    Josie

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  23. Marisa, I'm trying to follow your blog on Google but am having a problem. So forgive my multiple comments. Experimenting. Perhaps subscribing by email would be easier.

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  24. Wasn't expecting that - fantastic economy as you convey a larger story in such a short space, what flash must be about. Beautiful and heartbreaking and honest portrait of devotion.

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  25. Heartening close. I wasn't heartbroken at all. Even smiled at the end.

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  26. Achingly, sadly beautiful. Lovely imagery with the full circle motif.

    Marc Nash

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  27. For better or worse. Just perfetto. Just beautiful. Peace...

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  28. Tearing up at work over here. So sad, but hopeful. Well done.

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  29. Ah, dangit, Marisa, you made me cry. Beautiful and heartbreaking! Now I want to go kiss my husband. Your story is a great reminder of how the smallest things mean the most.

    CD

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  30. Breathtaking and heartbreaking.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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  31. What a beautiful love story, Marisa. I have tears in my eyes. Excellent job.

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  32. A heart breaking tale, told with a brevity that made every word count. Nicely told.

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  33. beautiful ending to this piece. a very touching read

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  34. Agree that you have conveyed so much with such economy. Well done, Marisa :)

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  35. As someone who has been through this (my husband passed 9 years ago) your story touched me deeply. I'm crying openly now, because I know this gentleman's pain so well. You've done a great job of conveying this loss. My husband, fighting the dementia that so often comes at the end of one's fight with a terminal illness, had a moment of clarity and said "I love you," to me...these are words he didn't often say in life, so I kind of knew the end was near. Thanks for sharing this man's sad but beautiful story.

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  36. Touching. What life is all about.

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  37. That gave me chills. Beautiful.

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  38. I can't believe I haven't been here before. That was truly special.
    Thank you!
    I'll be back.

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  39. You just took my breath away with those speckled hands.

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  40. I am near bawling Marisa - this is astoundingly beautiful, heartbreaking. Simply perfect.

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  41. Perfectly balanced between sad and spiritual. It's the kind of love I think we're all looking for.

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  42. You brought serious tears to my eyes dear. Beautiful story.

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  43. "At least for another night, she fought her body's command that it was time to go."

    Beautifully captured. Achingly beautiful piece, Marisa. Just gorgeous writing.

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  44. Ya got me, too... Great one. Gorgeously-written

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  45. Beautifully sad story. Well done.

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  46. Lovely story, with a perfect balance of sad and sweet.

    Great piece.

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  47. I raced to the bottom without reading the other comments, so forgive me if I repeat. This was so touching. To have lived and loved like that, and to fight for one more day together. I think I'm crying.

    Perfect portrayal, and I loved the circle of birth and death within the prose.

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  48. Absolutely beautiful, Marisa. I was in tears reading this. <3

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  49. Thank you so much for reading my short story, and for your comments. Appreciate you all!

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  50. A precious jewel of fiction. Wonderfully crafted.

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  51. That was beautifully sad.

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  52. Marisa, that was as honestly beautiful as a story has a right to be. His speckled hands, that spot, the beauty of a lifelong love, the ability to stave off death for one more morning kiss. When I read "oncology room" I thought, oh no heart, hang on, it's going to be a rocky ride. But it was smooth and dreamy and wonderful.

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  53. Ooooo that was lovely Marisa.

    I had a minute free before yoga and I wanted to catch this story before the new one goes up.

    I'm truly glad I didn't read it earlier in the week. I'm editing a non fiction book about Alzheimer's right now and I've been on an emotional rollercoaster.

    This set me off again, but it's ok, I'll just weep into my yoga mat....

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  54. It's hard to add anything more to the acolayds above, so I won't, except to say that I agree with them all.

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