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Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #1717746
A reflection on slowly recapturing one of the most important things in life
  He awoke that morning as he had every morning for the last three years, the sunshine pouring into his east-facing room. He focused first on the world outside, noticing little change from the day before. Recognizing one lady from countless times before, he realized that the same people carried out the same actions day after day, year after year. The tree outside his bedroom window had started to bud, and what was left of the snow cover from weeks before was piled in a small heap outside his window.

  He then turned his attention to his small room, its pale white walls reaching up to a small, textured ceiling. There was little in the line of furniture in the room. At the foot of his bed stood a table on rollers, with a few papers and what he came to know as his breakfast sitting atop it. A swinging television jetted from the wall beside him and an old nightstand sat below. His attention then turned to the chair in the corner of the room.

  A smile ran across his face.

  Whoever she was, she was here religiously, every day as he awoke for as long as he could remember. He knew her simply as Linda, and she was the one who had first addressed him as Jonathan.

  Her tall thin frame supported little more than that needed to get by. Her long dark hair flowed gracefully over her sturdy shoulders, ending just below in a slightly inward curl. Her heavy brown eyes showed a moist redness, her tear ducts swollen from overuse. She reminded him of an actress, but he could never say exactly which one.

  He stirred in his bed, and as he did this she looked up, then moved swiftly to his side, taking a seat beside him on the bed. It took a lot of strength, but he lifted his right hand into her lap, cupping it over her own. They said not a word to each other for a long time, but they communicated through their touch. Many times they would sit there in silence for an entire day, and on others she would tell him about what was going on in the world he had once lived in.

  He had once asked her why he was where he was, and in response she withdrew, saying only that it was late and that he should have accepted her offer of lodging for the night. He knew very little of the accident that nearly took his life. He knew, in fact, very little of his life before.

  He had asked her many questions. Many concerned the years he had lost touch with, and of his family and friends. He asked about what it was that he had done for a living, what hobbies he had, the foods he enjoyed, the places he had been. He once noticed a ring upon her finger and asked her about its origin. She told him that it was given to her by the kindest, gentlest man she had ever known, when they were engaged. When he asked her why there was no wedding band upon her finger she left his side and went to the window to look beyond the city. He had not brought up the subject since.

  So now they were here, in complete silence, he lying in the bed that he knew as home, and her sitting there at his side. She lowered herself upon him, her silken hair under his chin, her ear upon his chest. It took all his strength, but he managed to move his palm up to her cheek. It was a first for him, and when he lay his hand on her face she instantly placed her hand atop his.

  His first thought was of how soft her skin was. He had never felt anything so soft, and he could not fight the urge to run his thumb across her cheek, down to the side of her nose and back up to the lobe of her ear.

  At this point he could feel her sobbing softly, as if he had done something to offend her.

  "What’s wrong?" he whispered into the top of her head.

  She lifted her head and softly pressed her lips to his. "Nothing," she said, “anything." She replaced her head upon his chest, his hand upon her check, her hand atop his.

  They lay there for some time, side by side, for what seemed to be an eternity in some respects, and a fleeting moment in others. They talked about the world outside, about what the doctors had to say about his condition, about the upcoming spring season and his desire to get out of bed to see the world he had suddenly left seven years prior.

  His parents were doing well, and she talked to them almost every day, but they lived so far away that it made it possible for them to come and see him only once a year. He remembered their last visit, the four of them sitting in the small room, hands clasped together, and their voices filling the room with stories of his childhood. There were stories of his school years and of the job that took him so far away from home. He had once taken Linda out to the farm he had grown up on, and his parents had greatly adored her.

  There were others she had brought to see him One she had introduced as the man he had worked for. He remembered little of the man, but he did remember being told that when he regained his abilities his job would be his once more. Her parents had come once or twice and had sent many cards, some get well, others on holidays or his birthday. She would bring friends of theirs from time to time, but most of the time she came alone.

  He had finally put it all together, her constant vigil through four years of coma, her solitary ring and her need to be with him daily. He was her strength, but it was she who carried them through their roughest years together.

  He did not know whether or not he had loved her before, but he knew that he loved her now. She had saved him from an existence without knowledge of who he was or what his life was like before. It was a gift he knew he could never give back to her; there was no way to repay her.

  It had came time for her to leave, for in the afternoon his attention was commandeered by the doctors and nurses whose jobs it was to keep his progress up. Before he let go of her, he decided to test his theory. He whispered softly onto her ear that he loved her.

  "I love you, too," she said, surprised at his comprehension of her feelings for him. She kissed him passionately. As she stood to leave, he noticed her eyes filling up with tears of joy.

    Letting go of her hand was difficult for him that day. He had come to realize what it was that was keeping him alive. His will to live came directly from her love, and he resolved to work on his rehabilitation with a new vigor, not only for himself, but for the woman he would one day be well enough to live with in the outside world, side by side.

    They had come to wheel him out of his room, through the halls to his therapy sessions. Going through the door, he turned his head to see her standing at the foot of his bed, a solitary tear rolling down her cheek, a hidden smile within her lips. She would leave soon, and at the end of the day his room would be empty. He would go straight to sleep when he returned, a desperate attempt to rush the morning light.

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