7 Kiss Me
Time is like a handful of sand, the tighter you grasp it, the faster it runs through your fingers.
My feelings with Benedict became deeper, the time we spent so precious and painful. As if my heart would burst.
I was scared that something would happen to it.
Scared of one day blurting those forbidden words in careless response.
Benedict wasn't able to visit me most of the time. His lapses getting more frequent.
A room was cleaned in the facility.
As days turned to months and then a year.
Another room was cleaned.
I lost my senses. From my left leg to my left foot. Then my right leg.
And another room. My friends getting smaller and smaller.
He lapsed... Again.
I was living in happiness yet miserable at the same time.
It was in my most down moment when my Dad visited me. As expected of super Dad, he immediately knew my problem.
"Sweetheart, what's the problem? You know we will always be here with you." To help you.
He looked at me, with those quiet and gentle eyes. I surrendered to his understanding.
He would accept anything, sacrifice anything just to make me happy.
My voice, an anguish, "Because Dad, I love him."
"So?" What's the problem with that?
"You know, I'll leave him behind."
"Then are you happy leaving just like that?"
No. I was unresigned.
I realized how love can be so benevolent and be selfish at the same time.
"I'm afraid, it will destroy him." I love him enough to give up.
"Do you remember the promise you made to your friends years ago when you first lost your senses?"
A memory surfaced from deep within from his words. Of a past so full of goodbyes...
"Your regrets. I will live them for you. I don't want to regret at the end. So, from now on, I'll live life to the fullest." Having the rarest disease yet I will be the longest surviving patient of this generation. Pointing at every empty bed marked the absence of yet another friend, their clock long expired.
I was thirteen that year.
"Yes." Sobbing, the very first time I cried so hard in my life. "Dad, I'm sorry. Tell Mom, I'm so sorry. I'll be going first." I'm so sorry.
"We love you, always remember that." This feels like goodbye.
"I love you too. Both of you… Please, Dad, take care of him. I know outside of this building he has it all. Money, power, status. But I'm afraid…." of breaking him.
"I know sweetheart. I will. Never worry."
"Can you please call him for me?"
"Aiding my daughter to woo a man? Why not?" With a gentle smile. My Dad patted my head.
I know he was trying to be strong.
He was my rock. My super Dad who can do anything for his daughter. I was so blessed. Overflowing with it.
So I always prayed and thanked God for giving me such great parents, such memorable friends, the kind and lovable hospital staffs and for giving me a chance to meet such a wonderful man.
"Hey, your Dad said you wanted to talk." Worried, Benedict examined my body carefully as he sat on the vacated chair of my father.
Hiding my smile, I asked him, "Do you think I'm useless?"
"What? No! Why would you even ask?" Incredulous. He flicked my forehead. The only thing I can feel now.
"Then can I request something?"
"Anything," he promised.
Good. "Kiss me?"
"...What?" he asked as if he can't believe what he heard.
My face steaming, I yelled, "Kiss me!" I closed my eyes, afraid to see what expression he was making.
Soft and smooth. Hot lips cover mine. Caressing.
So this was a kiss. It was stimulating.
Despite my paralyzed body. My blood was humming.
It was mysterious. Addictive.
I loved it.
"I love you," I whispered in the end.
I felt wetness on my face. Opening my eyes. I saw tears streaming down his face. So gentle an expression, my chest pricks every time his tears touched my skin. It was hot. "Again."
"I love you." He kissed me.
"Love you." And again.
He hugged me tightly, he choked, "I love you too."
He looked at me, gazing, memorizing my face with his thumb. "Dessrie, if I died now, I'll die a happy man." He smiled so wide. I knew that his heart must have been in pain.
"Me too." Any second, minute, or hour we can be separated. Don't leave any regrets. "Benedict, promise me one thing."
He was lying next to me on the bed, our faces so near to each other. Holding my unresponsive hands. He brought it up and kissed it. "I've already promised."
"If you survived and I did-" he interrupted me.
"Dessrie!-" I looked at him sharply, reminding him of his promise.
".… and I did not. Meet a nice woman and fall in love again." I said to him, my smile so gentle, yet accompanied by my anguished tears. Imagining him with another woman, talking just like this, so intimate. Holding hands while baring their feelings. It hurts.
"Why ask me if it hurts you?" he looked angry and helpless.
"Because I love you." my words, a proclamation.
It does not stem from his background, nor his physical appearance, it was our memories together, the way he awkwardly accepted the people in the facility. The way his dark hair sweeps his forehead whenever we sit at the balcony, his eyes seeing farther than the farthest place I've been to.
His eyes that express too much emotion. A mirror to his soul.
I love him for who he was. The boy who came to accept his life. He knew that he will always be incomplete. And in all my years in this facility, I felt his presence to be so big.
I can never feel his hands, brush his hair, nor hug him with my arms. I can never give him security. But what I feel now… was something that cannot be stopped.
My heartfelt words loosened the frown in his face. He kissed my forehead as he conceded, "Fine. Then you promise me too."
"Mmm." I'm sorry.
We were just like two normal teens in love, talking the whole night.
Making everything we felt last.
By the time he went back, my lips were swollen.
Dawn had set in. Seeping to my room the first rays of sunlight, bathing my tired body with its brilliance.
I close my eyes and prayed. Please God. Give me more time to be with him.
I'm extremely sorry for being so selfish.
He gave me time.
A month later.
He lapsed. His condition was critical.