I glugged the last remnants of wine straight from the bottle.
I had said my goodbyes; I had tied up the loose ends – now all I had to do was wait.
I hadn’t left the house in a week and I didn’t want to see anyone. I had gotten so thin I was almost waiflike. I had made my peace with my diagnosis and now I just wanted to slither away in peace.
Jason walked in and spotted the bottle of wine lying dripping on the floor.
“How did you get this?” he snapped.
“What’s it to you?” I replied. Turning my attention to the movie playing on the television in the bedroom.
“What’s it to me?” he said angrily, “I’m you husband!”
“Not for long,” I said maliciously. I was more drunk than I thought.
“Don’t start,” he warned.
“Just leave me, leave me to die and go away.”
“I’m not going anywhere,” he looked hurt, “do you really want to spend your last days drunk?”
“What’s the alternative?” I asked, “Spend it sitting here with you, me crying, you just sitting there angry and silent, hmm?
“Is that how you’d prefer I spent my last days?!”
“We can go out, be around your friends, your mum and dad, we can do anything you want.”
“Good,” I said, “I want to spend it drunk. Go get me another bottle.”
“No, I wont get you another anything. Get up, get showered and we will go for a walk.”
“No, no, no,” I said, slurring slightly, “I want another bottle of wine!”
“Tough,” he said in the doorway, clutching my just discarded bottle.
“Fine, I’ll get it myself,” I stumbled as I stood from the bed and walked towards him.
“I won’t let you,” he warned again.
I could barely stand and there was no chance of pushing past him and definitely no chance of getting down the stairs, even if I could.
“Fuck you,” I said turning away from him.
“I’ll be dead soon anyway. You can save all the wine for your next wife,” the malice was intended.
“BITCH!” he shouted as he hurled the empty bottle of wine at the wall. It exploded into a thousand sparkling pieces all glinting off the lamplight.
“You selfish fucking bitch,” he roared.
“How DARE you speak to me like that. I’ve spent five months making sure you’re O.K., FIVE MONTHS. I’ve brought you a bucket when you’ve been sick, cleaned up the messes you make when you can’t get to the toilet and every other little thing I could do to make you happy.
“When have you asked me how I feel, eh?” he was still shouting.
“In five months when have you asked how I’VE BEEN?” his hadn disappeared through the plaster on the wall and came back bloodied.
“You’re the selfish bastard, I’M THE ONE WHO HAS CANCER, I’M THE ONE WHO’S DYING,” I spat.
“Oh and don’t I fucking know it. Have you even thought what happens to me when you’re gone?”
“You die and I’m left alone. Here, in this house that we built together. I need to clean out your stuff, I need to get everything in order and I need to deal with losing…. with you being… I-,” he fell the floor and began to sob.
“And you, my wife, you can’t even be bothered to ask how I am.”
I was stunned. I watched him heave big heart wrenching sobs as I sat on the bed in complete shock. He was right.
I had spent every waking moment feeling sorry for myself. I’m ill, I’m sick, I’m dying and I hadn’t even thought about him. In fact I had. I had been angry he didn’t seem more upset. I had thought he was just waiting for me to be dead so he could move on.
Now as I saw him slouched over in the bedroom door way, the tears flowing from his eyes and the sobs drowning out the T.V., I realized what a heartless bitch I had been.
I got to die, to not be here and to just be gone. He had to continue.
I thought about how I would feel being left without him and I didn’t know how I would survive. I thought about watching him die in front of me and I couldn’t bear.
The image of him lying in bed, a bottle of vodka in his hand, as cancer ravaged through him made me feel physically sick. And here I was, wine in hand, doing the same thing to him.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, the words mixing with the tears, fresh on my face.
I moved off the bed to be with him. I crawled to where he sat crying and wrapped my arms around him.
“I’m so sorry Jason,” I meant it, “I didn’t even think.”
“I’m sorry I got angry,” he said through the tears, “but how am I supposed to go on without you. I love you so much and you wont be here soon. I wont know where to picture you. What if you don’t like being dead?”
And he began to wail again.
These were the questions he’d been asking himself as I’d went from house to house, telling everyone what was happening. Telling them all I was dying.
He was scared I wouldn’t be happy and there was nothing he could do.
“Shhh,” I hushed into his hair, “please don’t cry.”
It was in vain and made him cry even more.
“I’m sorry I shouted,” he bubbled, “and I know that I cant imagine what you’re going through but no one’s even asked me how I’m feeling. No one seems to notice that a part of me is dying too.”
We held each other, on the floor of the bedroom we had spent every night for four years together in and cried for the loss we were about to endure. I was leaving my husband and taking a part of his heart with me.
A chill ran through me as I thought of sleeping in this room knowing that he would never sleep next to me again and tears forcefully spilled down my face as I realized that that’s what he would be doing very, very soon.