HOLLY HELD THE BLUE COTTON sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately
Struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart. Pins and
Needles ran up the back of her neck and a lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Panic took
Over. Apart from the low hum of the fridge and the occasional moaning of the pipes, the house
Was quiet. She was alone. Bile rose to her throat and she ran to the bathroom, where she
Collapsed to her knees before the toilet.
Gerry was gone and he would never be back. That was the reality. She would never again run
Her fingers through his soft hair, never share a secret joke across the table at a dinner party,
Never cry to him when she got home from a hard day at work and just needed a hug; she would
Never share a bed with him again, never be woken up by his fits of sneezes each morning, never
Laugh with him so much her stomach would ache, never fight
with him about whose turn it was
To get up and turn the bedroom light off. All that was left was a bundle of memories and an
Image of his face that became more and more vague each day.
Their plan had been very simple. To stay together for the rest of their lives. A plan that anyone
Within their circle would agree was accomplishable. They were best friends, lovers and soul
Mates destined to be together, everyone thought. But as it happened, one day destiny greedily
Changed its mind.
The end had come all too soon. After complaining of a migraine for a few days, Gerry had
Agreed to Holly’s suggestion that he see his doctor. This was done one Wednesday on a lunch
Break from work. The doctor thought it was due to stress or tiredness and agreed that at the
Very worst he might need glasses. Gerry hadn’t been happy with that. He had been upset about
The idea he might need glasses. He needn’t have worried, since as it turned out it wasn’t his eyes
That were the problem. It was the tumor growing inside his brain.
Holly flushed the toilet, and shivering from the coldness of the tiled floor, she shakily steadied
Herself to her feet. He had been thirty years old. By no means had he been the healthiest man on
The earth, but he’d been healthy enough to. . . well, to live a normal life. When he was very sick
He would bravely joke about how he shouldn’t have lived life so safely. Should have taken
Drugs, should have drunk more, should have traveled more, should have jumped out of airplanes
While waxing his legs. . . his list went on. Even as he laughed about it Holly could see the
Regret in his eyes. Regret for the things he never made time to do, the places he never saw, and
Sorrow for the loss of future experiences. Did he regret the life he’d had with her? Holly never
Doubted that he loved her, but feared he felt he had wasted precious time.
Growing older became something he wanted desperately to accomplish, rather than merely a
Dreaded inevitability. How presumptuous they both had been never to consider growing old as
An achievement and a challenge. Aging was something they’d both wanted so much to avoid.
Holly drifted from room to room while she sobbed her fat, salty tears. Her eyes were red and
Sore and there seemed to be no end to this night. None of the rooms in the house provided her
With any solace. Just unwelcoming silences as she stared around at the furniture. She longed for
The couch to hold out its arms to her, but even it ignored her.
Gerry would not be happy with this, she thought. She took a deep breath, dried her eyes and
Tried to shake some sense into herself.