Stay With Me Awhile

By Gina Williams

August 10, 2015

Stay With Me Awhile

When Pete at last called Helen to request a visit, she said yes with both reluctance and anticipation.

They hadn't seen one another since her diagnosis. Pete was her last boyfriend and because she was terminal, would always be the final man in her life, the only remaining thread of sexuality, desire.

She seemed angry he'd waited so long to call. "I know he's just afraid of… know, it being difficult," she said. "But hell, I am too."

I worried as well. The thievish disease robbed her a little more each day of a kind, old Hollywood glamour she'd always projected. By now, Helen was gaunt and jaundiced, the cancer in her pancreas raging unchecked. I worried that Pete might be revolted, too shocked to be kind.

On the day of his visit, I did Helen's makeup, spritzed Chanel No. 5 onto her wrists, and held the mirror while she frosted her lips with Rouge Noir from a gold case.

Pete came to the door with a mixed bouquet looking frightened. He shuffled inside and we exchanged awkward pleasantries before I closed the door to the sick room, leaving my great aunt and her former lover to say goodbye.

I felt sick, waiting for it to be over.

After Pete left, Helen took my hand, pulled me close.

"He kissed me," she beamed, her face, lit up and blooming petals into her cheeks as if she’d received an infusion of fresh, healthy blood.

"He kissed me on the lips."


Photo "wild 6" provided by Lianne Nichols, via creative commons license.

Comments (9) - Post a Comment
Delora at 9:04am EDT - August 10, 2015
I worried till the last line too. How beautiful.
Pia at 9:06am EDT - August 10, 2015
Such a moving testimony to the power in small things, the mundane gestures that become miracle. Thank you.
Carol Marsh at 9:07am EDT - August 10, 2015
Thank you all so much for your comments. And thank you to River Teeth for the opportunity to share. I was only 20 at this time and it was a huge period of loss in my life, but it taught me to look for the beautiful moments in every day.
Gina at 10:37am EDT - August 10, 2015
Thank you for sharing this touching and beautiful story with all of us💝
Marilyn Peterson at 1:11pm EDT - August 10, 2015
A very tender and moving piece.
Annie at 3:31pm EDT - August 10, 2015
Beautiful! Jarringly tender. Thank you for sharing this.
Susie Lounsbery at 5:04pm EDT - August 10, 2015
Lovely, lovely, lovely...
Jayne Martin at 12:00pm EDT - August 16, 2015
Grazie a mille, all!
Gina at 11:59am EDT - August 17, 2015

Post A Comment

Name: (*Required)
Email: (*Required)
- Not Displayed With Comment

« Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow