Finally, he managed to take her there. He did so, against everyone’s advice. Like always, all that mattered to him was HER. After all, he had to keep up the promise. A promise he made 25 years ago on the same day, which was their 25th Wedding anniversary. He smiled now, remembering how certain she was that he wouldn’t remember it. Today, he felt, that this promise was all he could remember.
It would take another half an hour for the sun set. He knew that there was time for the sky to turn into golden hue; there was enough time for the birds to get back to their nests and for the sea to glimmer like Gold. As he held her hands, he wished that likewise there was time for them too.
“A little more time for you and me”. He whispered. “More for me I guess”.
Over all these years, he had planned this surprise for her innumerable times in his head. He had gone through every step repeatedly and wondered how she would react. Truth be told, he had not imagined anything close to this. Today, she sat there, right beside him without any expression. The sea she stared at, didn’t seem to bring joy. She didn’t seem to be in awe of the birds or keen to listen to the waves. In fact, his presence too didn’t seem to make any difference. The last time she got her memory , as he could remember was almost 3 years ago and sadly it was only the kids around her then. This was not how he imagined things would be. He regretted for the times when he yelled at her forgetful habit. She now didn’t remember anything. Neither the house they built nor their kids. Most importantly, she did not remember him too. But, he could still sense that even though she would have forgotten herself, yet she was at peace with him nearby. Or maybe it was the other way around, he thought.
“I too don’t know anything anymore, I guess.” He whispered.
Today, when he had no control over the multiplying cells in his body, when he had a little time left, he realized that he did not expect anything from hey r anybody else. He had no complaints or regrets. All he wanted was to be with her. It did not matter to him that she didn’t recognize him unlike before when small instances could evoke his anger. Despite, the fact that he hated the silence; somewhere he knew that they follow each other through silence too. Now, he felt guilty to be leaving her alone but then he thought that she was better off since she seemed to have created a world of her own and was so detached from everything else. He was happy to realize that his absence will not cause her any pain.
“Maria, do you see the sun set?” he asked. (Coughing uncontrollably and ensuring that he doesn’t let go off her hand)
With difficulty he uttered again- “Isn’t it beautiful Maria? Just like how it was 25 years back?”
When he found her still staring at the sea, he let her hand away and took a moment to wipe off the blood from his mouth.
As he turned around, he found her looking at him. Right into his eye! It was a miracle! And yes, he also identified that twinkle which gleamed every time she looked at him.
“Maria! You …” He didn’t have to ask her anything more when he found her smiling at him.
With a trembling voice, she uttered- “Peter! You finally brought me here!”
Gasping for breath and with tears rolling down his cheeks he asked- “You remember?”
In a matter of minutes after they began speaking he saw what he feared the most. The face which lit with smile gradually turned into a frown and then into no expression at all. She again turned away and stared at the sea while he sat there looking at her and thinking-
“I lost you just the way I missed this sunset today. We were walking together throughout the journey, holding our hands. I neither realized that you had begun to lose the grip nor that you had begun losing yourself and us. I was right there, beside you and yet I missed seeing those signs. I didn’t realize that I was losing you until your Alzheimer won you over.”
[Weeks later, Peter succumbed to cancer entrusting his kids to take care of Maria. However, Maria followed Peter in a matter of months. She had never got her memory back after that day and thankfully never asked for Peter since that day.]
Love to all,