The bomb had shattered everything in the air it had touched; what once had been a marketplace was now covered in glass shards and death. One always heard the idea that the bomb falling directly from above was the one that went unheard, so death had come unexpectedly in an island of momentarily silent peace. Yet he held me, despite the cuts running down his handsome face. “Look at me,” he urged with insistence in his voice.
I tried. All things were rising and falling, as if I were on a boat, swimming in a sea of blurred colors.
“Look at me, look at me,” he repeated as the frantic notes in his voice was controlled, but present. “Just keep looking at me,” he begged.
My head began to droop to one side. He lifted it with his free hand, the one that was not supporting my back. My body felt heavy and everything was moving, and I couldn’t make my lips form the words vital to express myself. I wanted to speak to him, to let him know what I hadn’t said. I needed him to know, I forgave him, wanted him forever, as long as it would last for us, anyway.
“Please,” he continued.
I forced my lips into a bloody smile as I gazed at him. Sighing deeply, I shook my head.
“I love you,” I said. “I will love you… beyond forever.” I squeezed his hand, wishing for the strength to bring it up to my lips. I would kiss each finger, every knuckle. But life was leaving me.
He laid me gently in the floor and I imagined I was sinking into the first green grass of spring, perhaps at a picnic. “I love you,” I sighed again, but I could not hear his reply. My mind became jumbled with chess sets and airplanes and why a cloudless night was the coldest of the year. I saw iceboxes open and fireworks exploding and flowers budding in the snow, saw myself dancing with him in the rain, winding the Victrola and changing the record. And I knew I was sinking, sinking into the blanket of his love as my chest rose slower with each uneven and nearly forgotten breath. I saw him now and I had to make it my forever. I had to carry him with me wherever I went from this point on. Although I could no longer clasp his hand, I still felt him holding mine. It was so difficult to stay awake, and the images were coming faster. I’d missed my chance to sing to him, make love to him on the beach. These were the things I thought I had a lifetime with which to surprise him, but I had been wrong.
The chances for my unresolved wishes would never come again. I closed my eyes tightly despite his pleas to try to stay awake, making the last effort of a wish that I could remain with him forever. Screaming from outside interrupted my reverie and I tried to turn my head away from the renewed waves of crashing and falling. We were at once thrown backward, but all I saw were his eyes. They continued to be my anchor to everything right as I felt the rest of my strength leave my body. However, the greatest surprise was to find myself still looking at them when I learned that there really was soft spring grass under my back, without wounds, blood or bombs. Here, there was no more pain, despair or dying; just he and I together, forever.