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July 2013, vol 9, no 2

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Seánan Forbes

Love Story

I couldn't come to terms with it. Weeks passed. Then months. Only yesterday, I first understood that she was dying.

It was nothing mapped by scans or charted in a doctor's hand. Nothing she said. Nothing made of words. Something beneath that, a fading pulse of sound. The way exhaustion fogged her voice. She was weary, yielding, halfway gone, a hospital-gowned Eurydice wishing Orpheus would turn around and look at her, allowing her to slide back to Hades and . . . just . . . stop.

Except for the incessant soundings of machines and the rubber-soled padding of unobtrusive nurses, we had no music, and we had never been the stuff of myths.

At the end of our visit, as my foot reached the threshold, she said, 'We'll talk.'

No. We wouldn't.

My gaze returning to her, I said, 'Rest well.' It sounded like, 'Rest in peace.'

love story
the finality
of a closing door