Till Death Do Us Part
Copyright © 2012 by Massimo Marino
“We are gathered here in the presence of God to witness the exchange of vows that will bind this couple together in the covenant relationship of marriage. When this ceremony has ended, they will leave this place as husband and wife, joined together by the Lord of heaven and earth.”
With those words, the first best day of my life officially started. I looked at her, and she was crying. We kissed, the flood of congratulations and applause crushing against the bubble our love created around us. The joyous—and raucous—shouts from close friends forced us to stop smooching because we were laughing so much.
That night, I lovingly stripped my wife of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
It was my first teaching tenure. The chemistry department at UC Berkeley, no less. We rented a small house on Euclid Avenue. Not much of a view since the houses having one were still beyond our budget. But it was our world.
Did you ever feel love as a crushing feeling, shaping every thought, every move, every dream, and every desire you might have? This is how I felt, waking up every morning a few minutes before the alarm clock called us to our daily tasks. To watch her breathing, slowly opening her eyes right after the most beautiful smile had reached her lips. And it was all for me. Every morning.
That summer, going down the hill on my bike, was a hymn to joy. I blessed every hour and every minute that passed because it was an hour and a minute less until the time I could be in her arms again.
We made love often the first year and every room of the house knew us very well. We never had sex. From the beginning with Kinley, it was love…passionate, excruciating, burning, breathtaking. All the adjectives you might think of about sex, but it was love. I wished no other life than one spent with my Kinley. No other.
“Honey, I have to tell you something,” Kinley said that morning with a smile that left no doubts. I stopped drinking my coffee and looked at her, hoping to hear what I wanted to hear with every fiber of my being.
“I think…I’m pregnant.” Tears blossomed in her eyes like dew on flowers at daybreak.
“Oh, God. Kinley, I love you so much!” I rushed to hug her, hug them both…my wife and my child. That was the second best day in my life.
“Did you get a positive test? You did it?”
“Not yet. But it’s been over two months since I’ve had a period so I don’t need to pee to know it.” Her smile will be carved in my heart forever.
We waited anxiously for the results from the blood test and CVS. Although neither of us had any family history, we wanted to have some peace of mind and enjoy every moment. We had been late going to the Ob-Gyn but Kinley didn’t have any issues we knew about, like morning nausea. Just a bit of pressure in her abdomen and some urinary urgency but that was normal. Thank the Lord, everything was perfect. Her belly had started to show and she was so lovely.
We floated in our bubble of love, strong as ever.
The phone rang.
“This is Alta Bay Ob-Gyn. Am I talking to Mr. Jim Preston?”
“I’m sorry, I see here… Dr. Preston?”
“Oh, no problem. It’s Jim here on campus.” The secretary didn’t change her tone.
“Dr. Preston, we need you to come to the office at your earliest convenience. You’ll have an appointment with Dr. Jammers to discuss your wife’s recent tests.” My heart jumped…I was going to be a father.
“Any time! Just need to pick up my wife at work.”
There was a too-long pause on the line and then, “Dr. Preston…we’d like you to—”
“Jim?” Another voice hijacked the conversation. “This is Jenny, Jenny Jammers. Please come. Alone.”
“Hold me, Jim. You promise?”
“Forever, my love. I will never leave you. You know that, don’t you?”
“Yes, Jim. But I’m scared.”
“Don’t be, my love. You are with me.”
Kinley was all curled up against me and falling asleep peacefully. I made sure it would be that way. With tenderness, and with love.
“I’m cold, honey. Hold me.”
“Yes, my love. Don’t be afraid. I’ll be with you always. Sleep…sleep now.”
I was caressing her lovely head. Kissing her and trying hard to hold my tears. I loved her so much. She was fading away slowly—her breathing getting more and more feeble—and she was relaxing in my arms.
“Oh, God. Oh, GOD!” She was sleeping now.
The glass on my bedside table was waiting for me. Kinley was so beautiful and I could not wait to join her. Her lips were turning blue…
“When this ceremony has ended, they will leave this place as husband and wife, joined together by the Lord of heaven and earth.”
That day, we’d replied, “Till death do us part.” I drank the liquid in one gulp.
Kinley had ovarian cancer and it had spread to other organs, too. A rarity, but it happens. The growing mass in her abdomen was not my child and it had robbed me of everything.
I hugged Kinley as hard as I could although she cannot feel me now. But God, please, do have our place ready—as husband and wife—because I’m coming, too.
This was the third best day of my life. I was joining my Kinley forever and shove it to that Death Bitch.
Something old, something new, something borrowed…and something blue.
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