A Rendition – 7/9

“Careful,” He would always say, “The universe is in your eyes, close them for too long and the stars may fall.” He would bring her flowers smelling of honeysuckle and gardenia, closing his fingers around her frail palm, “For you,” He would say, “All the flowers in the world would never bloom without their sun; you chase away their darkness.” He would bring her hand to his lips and disappear through her doorway; she was always left feeling as if his presence had warmed the coldest, most frozen pieces inside of her, as if her illness would thaw and crumble away. Her nights were the hardest, coughing fits full of blood and tears, nurses and heart monitors, needles and medicine, but his face in her mind never left her side. He would return the next morning, brandishing a stuffed bear. “I call her Mona,” He would smile, looking down at her bear, “For you are my moon. With you as my guide in the starlit sky, I will never be deterred from my home in your heart.” He would smooth back her hair and lay his head against hers. “You must never leave me,” He would say, “For my sun would go dark; my flowers would never bloom without you as their guide.” He would return bearing the gift of a book, reading it aloud as her skin paled and her heart slowed. “You must hold on,” He would whisper, “The world is not ready for a life without our sun.” She closed her eyes one final time as he held her hand and cried, as the strings in his heart snapped, as the world was cast into darkness, as the flowers of their lives wilted. His soul left the world entwined with hers, as if Death had chosen them to be together, endlessly; he rose to claim them as the nurses filed in, as the heart monitor beeped, and all that remained of their presence in the mortal world lay the stuffed bear, the flowers, and the book called Romeo and Juliet.