Tell me that I’m beautiful.
Stroke my cheek and tell me that my face doesn’t look ashy. That it doesn’t need some color because it has enough color. It has enough color, honey. That it doesn’t feel dead against your touch. Feel the baldness of my head now. Forget the veins that are sticking out, and imagine that you’re stroking my once short coarse hair. Feel it. The hair that was full of life. That was life. Feel it stand erect in defiance to your strokes. Feel it matt against my scalp in submission to your strokes. Feel it refuse to detangle between your fingers. Feel my fro still existing. As it covers my big oval head with its skeletal features, blanketing them all in warmth.
Look into my eyes.
Look deeply, intensely like you did when they still had life in them. Let them speak to you. Their deadness doesn’t scare you. They don’t scare you, honey. Ignore the tears welling up in there. Ignore the loss and pity trying to rear its ugly head. Trying to stifle that comely look of love. They are alive, my eyes. They are deep and alive and have interesting stories to tell. Happy stories. Just like the first time we met. They are not dead. Not dead.
My chapped lips entice you.
They are pouty and sexy and looking at them just makes you want to kiss me. I am quite irresistible to you right now, lover. If it wasn’t for the vigilance of that nurse over there, and the doctor with a grim face who keeps checking up on me, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’re in the wrong place, look at this place, so sad, you would be all over these lips right about now. Because they are pulling you to me like a magnet. Sigh. Right, baby?
Hold my hand.
Act like it’s normal for a human hand to be as cold as mine is. Pretend that it doesn’t scare you to squeeze it. Let that question leave your mind unanswered. The question where you ask what would happen if you were to squeeze my hand. Whether it would crack and break like a twig. It, after all, doesn’t feel and look like one, right? No. It doesn’t. Look at my body. There is no skeletal mess for you to see. Think instead of how my frail body now allows me the ideal size and the once in a lifetime chance to finally pursue a career in modeling. If ever I wanted a modeling career. But why wouldn’t I want a modeling career? Or any career for that matter. I can still do it. Tell me. Tell me how I can still be whatever and whomever I put my mind to being. That my dreams are still valid even in this hospital bed. That all I ever wanted to achieve is still achievable for me. That it’s still out there, waiting for me to grab it. The world is my oyster. I have a whole life ahead of me. Say it, honey. Say it.
Sit by my bedside.
Act as if no one else needs you out there. Not your job. Not our children. Not your friends. Or your colleagues. Not your life. Pause your life for me and act like this is the perfect place for you to be right now. That you’d rather be nowhere else, and with nobody else. Not even your family. You’d rather be here not laughing, not joking, and definitely not fine. You like sitting quietly and watching the monitor above my head beep my life away.
Fall asleep next to my immobile body.
Pretend that you’re not scared shitless. Now show me that brave face, honey. Show me. The face that convinces me you’re not worried about waking up one day and finding me gone. Say that I will beat this. That we have a whole future ahead of us. A whole bunch of children and grandchildren ahead of us. That we have jobs, elections, and even other marriages ahead of us. Please tell me that I will get a chance to become your first wife. Or that one day in the future, I will have the privilege of being called your ex. Allow me a few more titles than just this one of being your wife. Tell me that it doesn’t end here. That it doesn’t end like this. Not like this.
Even in this bed, even in this state, I am the most beautiful woman you know. I am the love of your life. I am yours forever. You will never love anyone the way you love me.
Lie to me. Tell me that I’m a brave woman. That nothing scares me, not even death. That I lived my life to the full. That I did everything that I needed to do with my life. That I did everything that I needed to do when I had the resources to do them. Tell me that I explored all that was there to be explored. That I pushed the boundaries. That I have no regrets. Tell me that there is nothing else for me to do in this life, nothing that I’d want to do anyway.
Tell me that I’m going to be fine. Even as my breathing becomes labored, even as I give up the fight, tell me how strong I am, how much of a fighter I am. How determined to stay alive I am. How I never give up. Tell me.
Tell me that you would be lost without me, that you would die without me in your life, that I am the love of your life, your soul mate, that our love will last forever. That there is no one in this world like me.
Lie to me. Please lie to me. Because if you’re lying to me, it means that you’re here with me.
You’re here with me.
You’re here with me.