He remained still, too still infact, like I struck a cord. After standing a while,he moved from his standing spot by the door, moved past me and headed for the couch
“I’m right, I’m I not? I asked and he stopped immediately and turned to look at me
“You know what?, you’re actually right” he didn’t even bother denying it “I’m tired Regina”
“Oh my God” I muttered, my hands flung to my mouth to cover my now quivering lips
“Regina”….. he moved to touch me, but I took a step back prompting him to stop. He ran his hands through his hair frustratedly as he paced the living room
“All these while, I kept thinking we stood a chance, that we can fight this. But what? You’re just going to….
“Don’t you dare say it Regina” he snapped. “To give up? Not giving hope a chance? Is that what you think? He chuckled and my stomach churned from the sound of it.
“I’ve tried Regina, I have. But it’s not easy anymore” he sighed dragging his hands through his face
“I’m tired Regina” he murmured, so low I barely heard him, and I could tell from his face he meant every word
I moved closer to where he was, placing both hands on his face. “There’s always hope Daniel, you shouldn’t give up just yet” I caressed his cheek. He chuckled, dropping my hands from his face much to my dismay
“You don’t get it. I’m dying Regina, and you know the funny part? I don’t care anymore. I’ve accepted it”
“No” I shook my head “You’re not going to die, you’ll live”
“No Regina, I’m dying already” he placed my hand on his chest where his heart lay, and I could feel the rapid beating of his heart due to the stress it it was passing through now. “Feel it Regina, it’s not…. it’s not…. he stopped to take a deep breath and I removed my shaky hand from his chest
“You know what’s worse than being told you have Cardiomegaly(enlarged heart)? Finally having a transplant due to its severity, only to think that at least you got another chance at life. But alas, years later, your body starts rejecting the heart. After years of taking anti-rejection medicines, it still did start rejecting it. The tears trailed down as I heard new details about his illness
“I never smoked, never was a smoker. I drank, but only at a minimum. You can’t imagine how sometimes I find it so hard to breath, or how after series of fighting it, I passed out in my office, rolled to the emergency unit to be told by my doctor I needed a transplant or I’d die” he smiled sadly, rubbing his palm on his face before going on
“I almost gave up, but still held on to that tiny shred of hope that I’d get a donor. And in the last minute, miraculously one showed up. A badly injured man, rolled to the emergency unit died, and his heart was given to me, and it fit. I was glad, I survived. Although I was a bit sad someone had to die for me to live, but I paid for it by making sure I make good use of his heart. And then one day I met you. It’s like everything was falling into place. I fell head over heels in love with you, so I put a ring on it. We were happy, but then the dizziness came back. Doctor said my body’s rejecting the heart” he stopped to look at me and I was now bawling
“You see why I said I had a rotten luck?” I just wanted to be normal, meet and marry the girl I love, have kids, grow old with them around. Then die when it’s time, but I guess that wasn’t cut out for me.
“Death is inevitable Regina” he came to were I was standing crying uncontrollably and held both my shoulders “Everyone dies. While some have the privilege of dying after having lived a full life, some don’t get that chance. But you know one good thing I got from life? I got to meet you Regina”
My sobbing continued even as he brought his thumb to wipe my tears. It felt like the more he wiped, the more the tears rolled down
“Regina” he called my name gently, but that seemed to aggravate the tears as my whole being shook from my crying. He pulled me into him and held me tightly against his chest as I bawled my eyes out in his arms
After few minutes of continuous sobbing, it reduced and I pulled away slowly from him, wiping my tears as I looked into his eyes. They were red from unshed tears. I could tell he’s holding it all in for me, Its way harder for him. He’s the one with the illness, but he’s doing all he can to hold it all together for me, and that includes putting up a strong front when I can tell he was dying on the inside, more than even the illness itself is causing.
I wiped the stray tear that escaped my eyes as I stared deeply into my husband’s eyes. He looked so dejected, if that being word enough to qualify his current state
I cupped his face and planted a lingering kiss on his lips before pulling away to look at him once more. “Lets forget” I whispered “It doesn’t matter, we’ll get through it”
“Regina…. he tried to to argue but I stopped him by placing my lips on his once more, this time lingering in even longer. It didn’t take much time before he returned the kiss and wrapped his hands around me pulling me in
We pulled away to catch our breaths
“I…. we…. it’s going to”…. I tried to accumulate meaningful words, but fell short as my face fell. He got the idea and without saying any word caught my lips once more and lifted me up. My legs went round his torso instinctly and my hands snaked his neck as he carried us up the stairs, all the way to the bedroom, not breaking the kiss. He laid me down gently on the bed as he pulled away and he climbed up hovering over me. “I love you” he whispered looking into my eyes before lowering himself to catch my lips
The morning sun shone brightly, illuminating the room. A ray caught his face and he scrunched up rolling over to my side to dodge it. A smile formed on my lips as his face was now close to mine. I stretched out my hands and traced the outline of his jaws. He looked so peaceful sleeping, but then his eyes flicked open when my hands moved to his lips
“Morning” he smiled
“Morning” I replied moving my face closer to kiss him lightly
We laid still staring deeply into each others eyes when his phone rang, breaking our concentration. I picked if from my corner where it was ringing and handed it over to him
“Hello Lily” he said to the other person on the line, who was his secretary
“Alright Lily, I know, I’ll be right……
“Hi Emily” I took the phone from him and pressed it to my ears, ignoring his questioning gaze
“I’m sorry he can’t make it today, or even tomorrow. So if you could please send all necessary documents he has to work with home, that’d be great”
“Okay, thanks” I hung up and dropped the phone before turning to look at me
“Taking charge aren’t we?” he smirked
“You need the rest” I replied before snuggling into him. He draped his hands over my waist and pulled me in closer as we enjoyed the rest of the morning in bed
Emily sent in the documents later on and he went about processing and signing when necessary. I brought him tea and asked if he needed help which he shook his head against as he continued working
The days rolled by, and each day he worries even more as to why I’m not going to work. My reply always was that I took a sick leave, but even I know I’ve extended it way too long. But I can’t go anywhere knowing fully well he’s ill. And then one day, it happened.
“Daniel, I made you orange juice. I’m not sure it’s supposed to taste this way though, it doesn’t taste like an orange juice, unlike it’s name” I laughed at my own joke as I made my way to him but was surprised when he remained quiet, his back turned to me
“Daniel?” I called, placing the glass of juice down on the table before going over to his side. I turned him around and a gasp escaped my lips.
“Oh my God! Daniel” I rushed and sat him down, while his hand clasped his chest in obvious pain. I quickly grabbed my phone and rang Dr Jeremiah
“Doctor” I breathed out as soon as he picked up
“Its Daniel, he’s having trouble breathing. His breaths are coming out in pants and he doesn’t look good” I sobbed
“Calm down Regina” he cooed “and bring him to the hospital quickly”
I didn’t wait to be told otherwise as I threw the phone aside and helped Daniel up on his feet at the same time yelling out for John to come help. He came and met me halfway and helped put Daniel in the car
There was an obvious concern on his face, but he knew better to not ask any questions as he left to go open the gate for me.
I drove out the gate speedily like a maniac earning a groan from Daniel
“Take it easy Regina, you’re going to get us killed” he groaned holding unto his chest
“Daniel, you’ll be okay, you’ll be okay” I kept chanting as I drove to the hospital
“The doctors and nurses received us and wheeled him inside, and started work on him
Few hour later, he was stable and breathing fine with the help of the oxygen mask on his face.
Dr Jeremiah came in to check on him, as he was awake. After confirming he was okay enough, the mask was taken off and I could see the worried look on his face after he finished his examination.
He turned to give a strained smile before patting my shoulders and left the ward leaving me alone with Daniel
I moved closer to Daniel and sat on his bed, giving him an “everything’s-okay” smile. He was looking at me but didn’t say a word and I guess he didn’t have to because there was nothing left to say
We headed home, a heavy silence hanging in the atmosphere. We got home and he slept off immediately his head touched his pillows. I sighed, placing a soft kiss on his forehead before leaving the room to let him rest
The days that followed got harder, he barely spoke three words to me. Although I knew he’s feeling guilty to me for all that’s going on, but I just want things to go back to normal. He resumed his work against my protest, he argued there was no point in doing nothing.
Days turned weeks and it started to take a toil on him. He can barely spend half a day at work and so comes home a whole lot earlier. I was glad he comes home earlier now, but it broke me to see him struggle everyday. It got to a point he started working from home. His face got paler and he began to loose weight. We almost frequented the hospital if not so and it began to wear him down. His room was soon set up with aids for him for emergency purposes. It was hard seeing him go through all of it and knowing I can do nothing about it was worse. It got even harder to feign a smile when he gets an episode without wanting to breakdown and sob bitterly. Every passing day he was becoming a shell of his former self and everyday it gets worse as it seemed to suck the life out of him slowly
“Hi” I smiled widely as I shut the door entering into his home office
“I brought you tea” I set the mug down with the coaster beneath it
“Thanks” he murmured and pressed the mug to his lips taking a sip before placing it back down. I smiled and turned to exit the room but stopped when he called me
“Yes?” I turned around, his face seemed like it’s been drained of blood from how pale he looked. He took a deep breath and got up his seat and came to stand in front of me but didn’t say a word. He looked like he was struggling on the inside, like something else was bothering him
“Daniel? Is something wrong? I held out my palm as I took his into mine
“You need to leave me Regina” he let out. “You have to get away from me”.
…To be continued