A No Dialogue Contest Entry
James pounded his fist against the wall lightly, knowing how easy it would be to break a bone. He couldn't believe it had come to this, but he also couldn't pretend he didn't know. He remembered the words the doctor had spoken with remarkable clarity. The last real conversation with his wife, he recalled, had been over two months ago. Feeling the sting of tears from that memory, he tapped the wall again a bit harder. The plan had come to him some weeks back, and with a heavy heart, he set about his task, thinking about their favorite beach.
While Jane waited unconscious in the van, James sighed, shook his head, and collected driftwood silently. He knew there was no reason to work quietly, but he did anyway, and soon he warmed by his roaring campfire. After a moment, his thoughts turned back to his wife of 51 years, and he stood to get her. His grunts of labor reminded him of his age, but he brushed it all aside, for her, his Jane. As the old couple lay by the fire, James recalled old poetry and songs they had loved together. The memories would come and go, and he talked and sang while stroking her gray hair. The fire began to die, and Jane slipped away without ever coming awake.
Tears streamed down his cheeks as James returned his wife to the van and slid the door closed. Out of old habit, James remembered to extinguish the fire by covering it with sand. A feeling of deep sorrow came to him as he realized that this time, they wouldn't return to dig up clams and feast. His mind gave him the sensation of the taste of a salty clam dipped in oily drawn butter, and he felt his mouth water. The old man knew he would taste the salt again soon as he approached the surf. Weeks ago, James realized there was simply no way he could live without his Jane, and as he drew the saltwater into his lungs, he was sure he would see her soon.
(WC - 348)