tagRomanceReflections on Lives Passed

Reflections on Lives Passed

byOptimator©

As my eyes start to close, I have one last thought, a prayer almost.

I pray that when my eyes close again... I find peace. But not the peace of dreams. Please, if anyone is listening... no more dreams.

And then my eyes flutter shut.

--

"Hey, Dad?"

"Dad, wake up."

"Dad... DAD... we're there."

I open my eyes wearily. I was dreaming and...what was I dreaming of?

My son parked the car, and reached over to undo my seat belt for me, the arrogant shit.

"You think I can't get myself out of a damn seat belt?" I snap angrily. I press my palm against the door, my handprint coding the door to 'open'. I swivel my hips and wince.

The cold, brisk air hits me like a ton of... something. Was it cement? Yes. A ton of cement, I think

"Dad! Jesus, you're going to catch something." He quickly got out of the car, to help me out.

"I'm 82, I've been sicker than a dog for the last 8 years, and if I want to get out of this damn thing, I'll get out."

I'm in a bad mood, and taking it out on Michael isn't helping much. He grabs my arm, and helps me out of the vehicle. I look down, to see snow. I'm immediately grateful that he made me wear thick shoes. I wanted to wear sandals. For some reason, I hate wearing socks.

That always drove her crazy.

--

"It's December."

"Yup."

"And you're wearing sandals, because...?"

"It's not that cold out." I said calmly.

She turned her head and 'mm hmd' me.

"Hey, I was just thinking.." I remarked, as we walked towards the door. "We should have sex tonight."

She turned and let out a sexy, evil laugh.

"Okay."

--

I chuckled out loud, then coughed as I inhaled the cold air. Damn, it's cold.

"Your mother loved having sex, you know." I said.

Michael stopped in the snow and cursed.

"I really...really... REALLY hate it when you tell me these things."

I laughed, not cruelly, at his discomfort. "Please. You and your wife pounded out your kids faster than I ever would've thought possible. And your sister and her husband aren't far behind. Your mother and I were like jackrabbits in bed, but you and your wife... I'm impressed."

"I'm not listening"

"No, really. I'm impressed." I grinned. He was so easy to tease. Sadly, he reminded me of his mother right then.

"Dad, would you...." His voice quieted down.

"Yes, yes." I coughed, grabbing his arm. The air was doing a number on me.

And then we were there. The snow was falling, maybe from the trees, I couldn't tell. But under it, there she was, marked by a piece of granite, rest her soul.

My wife, passed away 5 years ago.

--

"I still can't believe you're here." She said late one night. I had only moved down a few weeks before.

"Yeah, well, I can't believe I'm here either." I said quietly, folding my arms behind my head. Truthfully, it was an agonizing decision. To leave my life, and move away from my friends, had been difficult. She knew how hard it was, but we both knew that her career was taking off in the city, and my writing could be done anywhere.

"I better be your favorite," I reminded her, one hand sneaking over her thighs, fingers creping down past her waist. She lay there for a second, then parted her legs.

"You are my... um...favorite," She replied breathily, as my fingers stroked her slowly. She curled up closer against me, and pushed her ass against my crotch.

I nuzzled her neck and kept my fingers moving, sliding downwards, until I found her little bump; Her body shuddered as my fingers began stroking, and her hips started rubbing against me.

"Yes." She said again. "You're my favorite," she purred.

--

I leaned down, and put the flowers against her headstone. My knees shook, and I cursed myself for not wearing thicker pants, or for carrying a portable body-heater. Damn technology never does you any good, if it's not around.

Michael laid his flowers down gingerly, hands shaking. He was always emotional about coming out here. It's why I didn't like going with him, but I would never tell him that. Part of the reason is that I would get emotional, too.

Damn stubborn pride, both of us.

I stepped back and turned away slightly. I knew he needed a minute, and so I gave him his privacy, while my thoughts wandered.

--

"Two." She said abruptly, turning over her shoulders to face me.

"One." I said tiredly. My body was limp and exhausted, and not just from writing for 8 hours that day.

"Two." She purred pointedly, pushing me on my back, and straddling me.

"Oh, THAT'S not fair." I pointed out. She reached in-between my legs, and grabbed me softly, slowly moving her wrist up and down. I groaned.

"Um...One." I said, my resolve weakening.

She leaned down and nibbled on my ear. Oh, she's good, I thought. She's been planning this, I thought to myself. But still...

"One. Only one." I responded pointedly. She abruptly lifted her hips and slid down on to me. I moaned loud.

She whispered in my ear, "I want two... please."

Her hips rose and fell. And I gave in.

"Fine. Two kids."

Her body responded eagerly to my change-of-heart. She cheated, of course. But that was the only way she ever won.

--

Michael stood up slowly, and placed one hand on the gravestone. He was saying goodbye, it appeared. He wiped his face, and walked back towards the car. He knew I liked my privacy, too.

I hobbled towards her, heart pounding my chest.

"I come here," I started, "Because the kids expect me to. As far as I'm concerned, I see you and talk to you and love you every day, because you're still alive in my heart."

"And in the house..." I whispered, wiping away tears of my own, "I see you everywhere."

"I've been having this dream." I said after a moment's silence. "A dream where I made a different decision... where I chose not to come down to you in the city. It's an odd dream... we never really saw each other again, after that one month when we were together."

"I can't imagine..." I paused, my heart pounding in my chest. "I can't imagine that life..."

"That life without you."

The wind blew around me, snow blowing in my face, but I ignored it.

"It was difficult for me, because there were times when I thought I loved you, more than you loved me. But, I had to take the chance. I couldn't lose you."

--

I was nervous, the tickets in my pocket. It had taken me weeks of planning, hiding, and some outright lying, but I was fairly certain she had no idea.

This would be it. After living with her for two years, I would know if this was meant to be or meant to be over.

She came through the door, running late. Not a surprise, because I know how she is.

"Hey." I said brightly.

"Hey, I just need to finish packing some stuff and..." She stopped, seeing her luggage by the door.

"You're packed." I said rapidly. "And we're going."

She frowned. "We don't need that much, if we're going to see my parents."



"You are correct." I grinned. Let the games begin, I thought.

"Okayyyy." She said confusingly. The phone rang, just on time. I grabbed it, said "we're on our way", and started grabbing the luggage.

"Who was that?" she asked.

"The cabbie." I replied noncommittally.

"What.. the cabbie??" She asked loudly. "You mind telling m-"

I cut her off. "Let's go, get a move on." I couldn't help but laugh at the frustration on her face.

She set her purse down with a sigh and gave me that look.

I laughed again.

"Look, do you remember a couple weeks ago, when I was in a real weird mood at dinner?" I asked, walking out of the apartment.

"Um..." she paused, deciding whether or not to follow me.

"Move it along, if you want answers," I called from the elevator. She sighed dramatically, and locked the door behind her. She walked into the elevator and folded her arms.

"Weird mood." She nudged.

"Yup. Remember?"

"Yesss?" Translation: She remembered, but didn't have any idea what it had to do with me packing her luggage for her.

The elevator door pinged, opened, and I strode forth towards the outside of the building.

I couldn't help grinning.

"The publisher signed me to a two book deal."

"What??" She exclaimed, stunned.

"Oh my..." She reached up to hug me, but I pushed her away. I reached into my pocket.

"And I, of course, got a small, but generous bonus. So..." I waved the tickets in front of her "I figured you wouldn't mind going to Rome for Christmas. Oh, and first-class, too. At least, I told them first-class." I started grabbing the tickets out of my jacket. "I don't think I actually checked to see if they were first-class. Wouldn't it be funny if they didn't give us-?"

I was cut off as a female body jumping on top of me, kissing me hard.

"So... you don't mind going, then?" I laughed into her neck, as she wrapped her arms around me, holding me tight.

--

"That was...that was the first time we went... we went to Rome," I stammered in the cold. I kneeled down, my heart pounding in my chest.

"We went..." I coughed. "We went three times. And I managed to surprise you each time. You never knew we were going, you always thought we were going to see your parents."

"Thank god for book royalties. I never was good with money, so those bonuses and quarterly checks always came at just the right time. And your parents helped out, although your mother (rest her soul) is probably up there cursing at me right now."

I coughed again.

"She never did approve."

"And the second time in Rome... Well, that's where I got you pregnant."

I looked over towards my son.

"He probably doesn't want to hear that one, either."

--

"You bought enough shoes?" I said sarcastically.

"I can never have enough shoes," She replied proudly.

"Well, the least you can do is wear those to bed tonight." I smirked.

"Wear shoes to bed? Is this an Italian thing?" She asked.

"No, I just meant for you to wear shoes. And.. y'know... Nothing else."

She laughed.

"I think we can work something out." She grinned.

--

"Jesus, when you walked out of the bathroom, wearing nothing but high-heels.. My heart almost stopped. And then you started going down on me!" I laughed.

"Heh."

"You were such a dirty girl, but it was never easy for you to admit it."

"But that night... that was magic. That's when Michael was born."

"The best Christmas present I ever received from you, was when you tested yourself after we got back from Rome. Okay, it was after Christmas, but... the look on your face..."

My dry face cracked a smile.

"It warmed my heart, baby." I said quietly.

A patch of snow blew abruptly in my face. I looked upwards towards the sky, and raised my fist to the heavens.

"You'll get me soon enough, you bastard. But can I just have a couple minutes with my wife?"

--

The sound of screaming filled my ears. And moaning. Under normal circumstances, I would be aroused.

But not in a hospital. I hate hospitals.

But in my arms, was my oldest child.

Michael.

I looked down at her, and placed him in her arms.

"We have a son," I whispered to my wife. Tears flew from her eyes.

"Love you."

"Love you, too."



--

I looked back at my eldest, shivering in the cold. My hands shook from the chill.

"We did a good job raising him, didn't we?" I muttered.

"I told him, right after he was born, that I would make sure his life was better than mine. That I would work and suffer and toil and sweat so that he would be successful and happy and live a long, healthy life. And I couldn't...I couldn't have done that without..."

My head began pounding. This weather would be the death of me, if I stayed much longer.

"I couldn't have done that without you."

I stood up slowly.

"But today is Christmas, and you know I love Christmas. And I have a present for you. Sarah, Annie's eldest, is engaged. Yeah, I can't believe it either."

The wind howled for a moment, then paused.

"We're going to be great-grandparents." I said quietly.

The wind waited for a moment, perhaps out of reverence, before blowing noisily again.

"I have..." I coughed hard, and fell back to my knees. "I have lived a long life, but the best years were always with you. And although Mike and Annie take care of me, it's just..." More coughing "It's just not the same and I..."

"Dad?" Michael called out from the vehicle, jogging towards me.

"And I just wanted to say that I love ..." The coughing wouldn't stop now. Could she hear me? She needed to hear me.

"I love you...and... Merry..." Why is Michael holding me like this? What's wrong?

"Baby..." I whispered. I needed to tell her. I needed

--

A nurse walked down the hallway, a slight bounce in her step. As was the custom the last three weeks, she was stopping by room 211, her new favorite patient.

He was an old, cantankerous, pervert. He swore he was only in his 60's, but he was really in his early 80's. And the dirty comments he made turned her face red.

To be honest, when he wasn't hitting on her, it was the stories of his life that intrigued her. He wasn't anyone famous or powerful or rich, but he would tell her of his regrets. His mistakes.

The choices he made, the ones he wished could take back. He wanted her to learn from them.

It was one of the benefits of being a nurse, she thought. You meet the most interesting people. And while he was a dirty old man, she enjoyed his company. He made her laugh.

But his dreams... oh, how he hated his dreams. He would curse and rant, whenever she asked 'how did you sleep?'

Except once. One time, about a week ago, he was in a somber mood, not talking much. She got up to leave, when he began telling her of his thoughts while he was unconscious

He said that he dreamt of other lives he could've led. Lives where he made different choices, lives where different options, and chances taken, had changed his life for the better.

And with sadness in his eyes, he looked at me and said, "With each dream, with each life I see that I could've lived... I wonder what I have made of my own life. And my answer is the same, each time I ask."

"Not enough."

He looked at me strangely, his silver hair askew, as he spoke in a hushed tone.

"You only get one chance, Elizabeth. Make of it what you can." He turned away, and went back to staring at the window.

That memory flooded through her, as she neared his room. He had seemed so sad, when he told her that. She reached his room, the small, shiny red box in her hand; as she walked inside, she opened her mouth to call out his name, but then stopped.

The room was empty. Why wasn't he there? There wasn't any reason to move him, unless...no.

No.

No no no no... not today.

Not on Christmas.

She ran down to the nurse's station. Joanne stood there, helping a visitor find her mother. She looked up as Elizabeth approached, and her smile faded.

"Excuse me," Joanne's spoke softly to the visitor. "I'll be with you in a moment." She took Elizabeth's arm, and guided her towards an empty room.

"I'm sorry." Joanne said quietly. "He passed away in his sleep. We tried calling family, but he didn't have any listed. Do you know if...?"

Elizabeth shook her head slightly. "He never... He never married. He said he always let the good ones get away."

Wiping a tear from her eye, she continued. "He said he kept finding reasons not to get involved. He always found reasons to be alone."

"And then he died alone." She whispered.

Joanne patted her arm wordlessly, and walked back to her station, letting Elizabeth grieve in peace.

His voice came through to her, as she reflected on the time she had spent with the old man.

"I can tell you of mistakes, and regrets; and while I know I could've lived a better life, I know I lived a good life. I was fortunate, in that respect. But, if you take anything from what I've told you, remember who the people in your life are, and how much they matter to you."

"And don't let them walk away."

She wiped her eyes again, and pulled out her cell. She hit the speed-dial.

"Hey. It's me... yes, the roads were fine... look, I know you weren't happy that I'm working on Christmas, but I just wanted ... no, it's okay... look, I just... I just wanted to say...

Merry Christmas. I love you."

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