Forty-Three years. It was this time forty-three years ago that I proposed to the love of my life, and we have been inseparable since. I remember the day after the ceremony. We had gone home. To our home. I remember walking up to the door, and her suddenly taking my hand.
“This...This is the beginning of our life together.” She spoke, happy tears threatening to spill over her eyes. I cupped her face, and she cupped mine. We touched foreheads, relishing in this silence. Eventually she broke away, key in hand, and we continued walking toward our new home, and our new life.
The door opened, and I released a breath I didn't realize I was holding. This time it was I who cried. It seemed that opening that door closed off the life I had before we said our vows.
Inside, my house looked the same as it always did. It felt, however, much, much bigger. Our matching white attire from the day before lay draped over an off sided chair, almost begging to be worn once again. They would not be worn today. Setting my things down, I told her that I needed a minute alone. I wanted to surprise her with my outfit. She nodded understandably, and I entered my bedroom excitedly.
I didn't expect to see what I saw a few minutes later.
She stood in the middle of the room, rid of her earlier clothes. In their place was a long black dress, stopping just at her feet. We shared the same face of shock as we looked each other over. My attire of red contrasted beautifully with her’s of black. We walked closer toward each other, the only space between us being our hands as we held them in our own. Out of impulse, I reached behind myself and flipped on the switch of my already set record player. The music started slowly, as did our feet. Neither of us knew what we were doing, and that was the beauty of it. The music increased in speed as we danced around the room, not caring about anything else. We danced with a grace that I never wanted to disappear.
Eventually. It took about forty three years for the spark to finally ebb.
She lay in her hospital bed, weakened from fatigue. She reached out and cupped my cheek, brushing away a tear that had escaped from my sorrowful eyes. I cupped her’s out of impulse, and we touched foreheads, taking in the silence. Silence was the last thing I wanted right then. Her hand eventually lowered from my cheek as she, to my surprise, brought it to the railing of her bed. She struggled to stand, and reached out for me. I was at her side instantly. We held hands once more, speaking in ways that words could not. She brought her other hand to the strap of her hospital gown, undoing it slowly. When it dropped, I gave a gasp.
It was the dress. She gave me a weak smile, and coaxed me into a rhythm. We danced, not as elegantly as before, but much more meaningful. We danced to a song that no one would ever hear.
It ended quicker than I had anticipated. She collapsed in my arms, turning her head in the direction of her bed, and I rushed to place her back in it.
She looked back up at me, tears forced out by pain falling silently across her face. She took my cheek in her hand, and this time, brought it to her mouth to kiss me. No matter how long we stood there, it would never have been long enough. Her hand dropped quickly, and it was over.
Forty Three years.