She could hear the faint groans of life stirring from the master bedroom.
“Fuck. He’s awake.”
With a heavy sigh, she struggled to turn her head toward the window. She could hear his soft approach, the door squeaking open. Will he ever fix that fucking squeak?
“How do you feel this morning? Ready for breakfast?”
“Would you just leave me alone? I can’t bear this ritual anymore.” Why must he torment me so?
“Look at me, Clara. Can’t you even look at me?” His soft touch caressed her cheek, brushed her hair back.
Her reply was less biting this time, her voice suddenly soft, tears streaming down her cheeks to wet the pillow. “I can’t stand for you to see me this way.” Please don’t look at me.
“How long will it take for you to realize I’m not going anywhere? Nor do I want to. How long will it take for you to see the richness of life still in your grasp?”
He realized his mistake as soon as it escaped his lips.
“Heh, my grasp. My grasp?!” Her eyes flitted down toward her motionless hands, then up at him.
“I’m sorry, Clara.” He cocked his head to the side, eyes suddenly flashing. “No. You know what? I’m not sorry,” he said in a stern voice. She couldn’t remember the last time this gentle man grew so stern. “I’m not sorry at all. I’m done tiptoeing around you, and you’re done existing this way. This is no life.”
She gasped as she looked up at him, eyes surprised as the tears slowly dried. He continued, “Right here. Right now. You make a choice. Are you going to live? Or are you going to die? If you want to die, you know she’ll do it. I can call her right now, and a simple injection will end it all. You have that right. But if you’re to live, things change. Starting right now. So what’s it gonna be?”
She eked out the barest of whispers, “Live.”
“I. Can’t. Hear. You.”
“Live. I want to live.”
He stooped over, draped her arm around the back of his neck and carefully lifted and carried her to the wheelchair. He smacked the wheel nearest him and smirked, “You think I haven’t heard you call this a fucking prison? This, my dear girl, this is your freedom. This is your steed. Your iron horse.” He wheeled her down the hallway, through the living room and carefully out the front door and onto the porch. “Now. Where do you want to go? What do you want to do?”
“Everywhere,” she whispered. “Everything.”
“That’s my girl.”