|The desert stretched endlessly before me. How had I gotten in to this mess anyhow? The memories came like a punch in the gut. The girl in the bar, her steel blue eyes seemed to bore straight into me, how could I just ‘walk away’ from her? I bought her a drink, or four and we talked the rest of the night. She had seemed so calm, normal if not a little silly. Ugh, I had let her beauty take away my senses. The entire time I had sat with her, a part of my head screamed for me run, run away as quickly as possible. It had made no sense at all. Her delicate appearance, her fair face and her silly nature, were all things at war with the screaming in my brain. I was never afraid of commitment, not that I had ever found the person to whom I wanted a ‘committment to’.
The more I had looked at her the more I realized I could not leave her side. Long flowing white hair, large steel blue eyes set in a stunning face of utter beauty. Though it was not just her looks, it was something about her. She seemed strong, yet so utterly breakable. Her voice was a soothing, tenor not the high soprano that set your teeth on edge.
I had convinced her to share a cab with me back, since we had, had so many drinks. The driver leered at us in the mirror during the entire quiet ride to her apartment. I watched her walk away hoping that the phone number she had given me was not some phony. She turned when she reached the door, the light suddenly made her eyes shine white as she waved goodbye to me.
That had been the beginning of this. The next few months had been a whirlwind. Then suddenly we were in Vegas. I never planned on that, after all I just figured all girls wanted a big shah-bang wedding. Not her, she said she definitely preferred something that was less of a spectacle. How could I have guessed she meant, Vegas? How would that ever be less of a spectacle? The first several nights of our trip had been heaven. How could they not be, she was mine.
Then one morning I woke up to someone, I did not know. Her steel blue eyes seemed to have become almost black, her hair had lost its luster, and her pale skin was paler than I had ever seen it. When she noticed I was awake, she rolled over to the other side of the bed and cried. I could not have guessed the reason. The first thought was, that she was Pregnant. I quickly went through all the panic that any man goes through trying to count ‘the last time she’, and then ‘the last time we’ and nothing seemed to be possible.
I finally rolled over to her and took her gently into my arms. Consoling and comforting her unknown fear. How could I, have ever guessed? She finally confided her condition. I was utterly confused, she was the same person I had fallen for, the same person I had committed to and she was more.
The 'more' confused me. How, could such a thing exist? Magic was not real. She had to be crazy. Thinking she was cursed? It had to be cancer. Had she even looked into that possibility? We spoke of the facts. She showed me the doctor’s papers. I was shocked, that she had brought them with us. I was also hurt. How could she have kept this from me, knowing that I was committed to her? Did she truly believe I was that shallow?
We decided to stay in Vegas, to extend our ‘honeymoon’. The rest of the changes were more subtle, things others would probably never see. Our physical relationship changed by increments. Finally, I had to change hotels. We got adjoining rooms. She was not the woman that I had married anymore. Yet I could not abandon her. I felt a strong attachment to her in so many other ways; none of them was the ‘all consuming desire of a man for a woman.’ My instinct now was protection, caring and beyond everything else was still the need to see her happy. At the end of every day, she had changed so much. She was now a shrunken image of who she had once been. Her hair was only half the length and the color was so different, instead of the silken glowing white it was dull black. The only part of her that was still the same was her steel blue eyes, now larger in her small face.
Then the final day, I went in to wake her to find her gone. I panicked thinking she must have wandered off somewhere. She was so small now; that I wondered how she could have even gotten out of the bed alone. As I stood there, housekeeping came to clean up. The raw feeling in my throat the misting of my eyes, and I knew I had to escape this room. Just before I left the room, I looked one last time at her bed and found her locket. She never went anywhere without it. I grabbed it and stumbled from the room. I grabbed my wallet and my shoes with the locket in my pocket.
Now I stumbled around the desert. The pain of the loss thick in my heart my head finally wrapped around the whole of it. The curse of youth, how could that be bad? Now, I knew.
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