Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:
“Everything’s going to be okay.”
“God damn it,” I yelled as I stood up, knocking the empty bowl that had been sitting on the edge of the table to the floor. “It is not going to be okay, Melissa, it is never going to be okay.”
Anger rushed through my system, not at Melissa, but at what had been done to me, at what was being done to me. I stopped by the sink and leaned on the counter, looking out the window into the backyard of what had been our dream home twenty-five years ago. A deck for barbecuing and a yard big enough for a bunch of kids to play games in. I heard the sound of a chair scraping along the wood floors and her steps tentatively coming closer. I closed my eyes, unwilling to let her see the fear and pain in them.
“I’m sorry,” she said,”not just for what I said but what you’re going through. I don’t know what you’re going through, I might never really understand, but can you try? Can you tell me what you’re feeling.” She rested her hand on my back and the warmth of her hand felt so good as it brought back memories, so many happy memories. I started to cry. Warm, wet, silent tears at what was happening.
“I’m sorry, Melissa, I didn’t mean to take it out on you, never on you. I just remember my father lying in bed and the look in his eyes when he saw me…” I shuddered and the tears started flowing a little bit faster, a little bit harder. My voice felt heavy with emotion and it cracked as I continued to speak.
“I can’t, I won’t end up like that Melissa, a living death. I would know every time I saw you that I should be happy to see you, happy to be in your presence … but not know why. I know the pain that you would be going through because I went through it myself with my father. I know the heartache, the pain, the fear. I can’t lose you, Melissa, it would be the death of me.”
She spun me around and looked in my eyes. “You have Alzheimers, Eric, just Alzheimers. It’s not a death sentence.” She was so strong, so beautiful, just like when I met her. The memories of her dancing at the bar, her childlike enthusiasm making everyone around her just happy to be there. These memories, powerful and strong, were no match for the disease. I would lose them. I would lose Melissa.
I smiled at her, a sad smile filled with longing and regret. “You’re wrong, it is Alzheimers and it is a death sentence.”
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