I rang your doorbell. I felt you hesitate before answering it. I knew this hesitation. It happened a lot. I enjoyed it. You flung the door wide open. This surprised me. I liked being surprised. It rarely happened. And there you were. Beautiful. I’d never seen one quite like you. It wasn’t just the way you looked although that was appealing to me. There was something else.
Your initial reaction to seeing me was shock but you regained your composure so quickly that it was I that was caught off-guard. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way. Well, what I mean is it’s hardly ever happened that way and I’d built up an expectation and you…. you’d gone and exceeded all my expectations.
‘To be honest I wasn’t expecting you,’ you said and then you smirked, tantalising me with that twinkle in your eye.
‘Well,’ I said, ‘I’m here.’
You breathed in deeply, and said, ‘I’m ready. Would you like to come in?’
Suddenly I was overcome with grief. How could you be ready? I wasn’t ready. No! I wanted to run away. To escape the natural law. But how could I do that? What would happen if I did that? Was it possible? And I realised at once that if I ran away something else would fill my place. So I bowed my head and walked in.
You were sensitive to how I was feeling. Even now, I shake my head and all manner of emotions trip each other up when I think of how gentle you were with me.
‘Can I get you anything?’ you asked. I shook my head, unable to speak. I wanted to howl. Words fail me in the description of the grief I felt at what was to come and it was unavoidable, it truly was. You knew it and so did I. Yet I kept hesitating, frozen in my grief.
We sat together in silence for a long time. Your presence soothed me. I thought of the others. And of how I had never felt like this about them. That made me sad. That I had been quite cruel and heartless and had even played with their fears. I cried for them, silently at first and then with heaving sobs. You didn’t rush to comfort me. You sat quietly, respectfully and I felt honoured that you did that. When my tears stopped flowing you asked again if you could get me anything and I said ‘yes, a cup of tea,’ because I wanted something ‘normal’ to happen. I wanted to fit in to your life.
You placed your hand on my shoulder briefly before going to make the tea. That touch was like being bathed in golden light; so loving. Even now, I touch my shoulder from time to time as a physical aide memoir. You returned with the tea, which I didn’t touch and you asked how I was feeling. I bowed my head again and could not speak for a long time. You seemed to understand and waited patiently.
‘I’m feeling suddenly humbled,’ I blurted. ‘I’ve been doing this for a long time and I got cocky, to be honest. And your presence has reminded me of something. I was not respectful and and…’ words deadened what I had been experiencing. They could never describe perfectly.
‘Is it time now?’ You asked.
I screamed silently but I knew it was pointless to resist. I guess, at the time, I was so greedy for a presence like yours that I didn’t know if it could be possible to feel like this again.
‘Yes,’ I said and bowed my head, suddenly sensing something else: an insight. Now I understood why I had grown cocky. It was to protect myself. How do you think it feels to have every person you ever see react to you with fear and loathing? I felt ugly, unappreciated and unwelcome. Until you. I felt lifted and smiled at you.
‘Thank you. You have changed my outlook.’
You smiled that beautiful smile again. Then you closed your eyes and I took your last breath.