Final Memory

They say dandelions are weeds. So I guess I’m doing the environment a service by plucking one from the ground. But then I pucker my lips and blow the seeds into the wind.

A sudden gust shifts and pushes the fuzzy whites, imitating snow, into my face and dries the tears on my checks stiff.

I hate winter.

I hate what it makes me do. How the cold temperatures drive me to crave intimacy, warmth in my bed.

God knows I never meant to hurt him. The man’s name escapes me now—maybe he never gave it. But I remember his strong arms around me and his heavy breathing into my neck, how he pounded me like tenderizing meat, forced me open.

How his whole body covered me.

Not like Stephen’s, who shrinks further away each day. Fifty pounds lost, he’s now the size of a pre-pubescent teen—I’ve started buying his clothes in the boy’s section—and this morning he couldn’t lift his legs.

“It’s only going to get worse. I don’t expect you to stay,” he’d said when he was first diagnosed. But the night he caught us, when he came home early from therapy with Jackie, his live-in nurse, I felt his heart break in his chest—along with every other bone that has split, every muscle that has succumbed to spasms, weakened, and grown faint—when he saw how that man hurt me, how I liked it, how pleaded for more.

He’s not a man anymore. The doctor says by spring, he will be no more.

And there are not enough dandelions in my backyard for me to wish that my betrayal will not be his final memory.

© 2017-2022 Nortina Simmons

Originally published November 10, 2017.


3 thoughts on “Final Memory

  1. A good friend of mine suffers from ALS and he too is dwindling day by day. I can’t imagine his wife doing something like this, but I do know that watching him die an inch at a time is just about killing her, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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