“What’s love Mr. Sanders?”
‘Love’s when death becomes a paradox; You have grown so old with someone that dying before her feels like a crime but you can’t take the anguish of later either.’
“How old are you Mr. Sander’s?”
He smiled, ‘Twenty-two years of life and a forty-two of heaven.”
“What happened on that night Sir?”
‘She was the happiest I had seen her in years…’ you could see him smile while a tear rolled down his eyes, ‘her sister’s grandkids had come to visit us for a week. They were quite intrigued with our garden; would spend the entire day taking out ripe carrots and watering the tomatoes. They played with Marley and even built a small tree house nearby which she could climb…’
“You have a beautiful place; the kind people dream of spending their retired life in. How’d you manage to pull the ultimate dream?”
‘I find dreams very peculiar; they go by chaos in one’s mind. From an Actor it becomes a Doctor, to maybe a huge mansion. I believe time chafes chaos. You grow old enough and you’d realise that dreams are never surreal.’
“Carry on about the events of that day.”
‘It was their last day of vacation. We left them at the bus station at around seven and then returned back. She had a bath and we sat for dinner. She had had a tiring day but was still high with the enthusiasm of the day. We retired back to our room. She said she loved me… which we rarely said anymore. I guess it was always understood with us. Anyway I lit the fireplace and we went to sleep. I should’ve opened the windows. I do it every day before I light a fire…’ he broke down.
‘How come you never had kids?’
‘Well we were too involved in our careers earlier and by the time that ended; we were old. So we got Marley instead.’ He smiled, still tears in his eyes.
“Did Mrs. Sanders ever want them?”
‘She wasn’t a fan of the idea.’
“Did you ever insist?”
‘No, our love had always been enough.’’
“How did she die?”
‘I woke up from the smoke to see her lying there. They told me that the exhaust had clogged.’
“Okay; I’ve asked all I had to. You can leave Mr. Sanders. I am extremely sorry for this inconvenience again. It’s an unnecessary formality in such cases.”
“Was hell of a day, wasn’t it?”
‘Yeah” she said, serving the dinner.
“They really enjoyed building the tree house. Maybe I should tell Ronald to help them set one at their place. They did have a tree, the best I remember.”
“You should actually! They were telling me how they want a private place away from Rose every time she would get upset with them.”
I smiled and joked, “We really needed this week. You seemed particularly happy. Maybe we should’ve kept one of them for ourselves”.
“Maybe we should’ve” She smiled at me and looked away as it faded.
There was a silence while we ate. She looked at me straight and said, “You know I love you, don’t you?”
“Yes; Mrs Sanders.” I smiled.
We went to our room. I lit a fire. Marley loved sleeping near the fireplace. It had been a beautiful day but nights got cold.
She had fallen asleep almost immediately. She must have been exhausted. She was smiling in her sleep. Some moments are so perfect that you wish you could freeze them forever. I sat beside her and watched her for a long time. I finally kissed her, “I love you”.
I got up and closed the windows. “Come Marley, we’ll watch some Television.
I sat on the couch, holding a drink in my hand while ruffling Marley’s fur while a tear trickled down my face.
Note: Inspired by Porphyria’s Lover- Robert Browning