“Look at the moon.”
It cascaded over the lone palm tree on their street, full and pregnant. They both took a breath.
Their argument stopped for a minute. She did this all the time. Her wandering eyes — although never wandering to another man — would catch the simplest piece of beauty even in a tragic moment. It was one of the reasons he loved her so much.
She was trying not to cry and he wasn’t sure if it was because of the moon of the loss. It all began to blend in. This had all seemed to easy a few hours ago, but the more he looked at her, the harder it was to do this.
No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. He certainly had never enjoyed it. But being her doctor, then her husband had complicated everything. Having her in his life was certainly worth it, but the whispers in the hallway never made it easier.
Who married a dying woman? The man who thought he could save her. Of course, he had for a time. She got better, her hair grew back, though lighter than before. Her face stopped being so pale and her cheeks occasionally flushed. She was beautiful when she was sick and she was stunning when she was well.
She leaned against him, her hair tickling his chin. He breathed in her scent, the lilacs that seemed to permeate her body. He still caught whiffs of her on himself as he walked through the hospital. It was as though she never left him. He would have to plant some lilacs in the backyard, to remind him.
He opened his mouth to start the speech he had gone over in his head so many times. But it stayed caught in his chest, the words that were so easy to say as a doctor. The ones he had grown accustomed to in his years of practice. Probably too accustomed to.
He had started the argument because telling her heartbreaking news when she was angry seemed easier. Anger is so close to fear and sadness. He figured it would be an easier transition. But nothing would make this easier.
“I love you, you know,” he said as he kissed her forehead.
“I know.” She smiled. It was the game the played. He knew very well that she loved him as much, if not more.
He wrapped his arms around her. One more night. One more night until he told her what he saw in the scans. One more night until he had to begin letting her go.
He hoped lilacs grew in California.