Part 1- Award
I stood in front of the floor length mirror.
My favorite patient, Mr. Curran, sighed with pleasure, as I removed my wrap to reveal his late wife’s gown. “It looks lovely on you, dear. You’ll make this old man the envy of the awards banquet.” The man was wheelchair bound due to illness and chronic pain.
“Thank you, sir. I’ll try my best to make you look good.”
That got a laugh. I always loved making him smile.
At the party, he introduced me as his nurse. I carried a bag of emergency medications along with my new diamond clutch.
I stood behind him, as he made small talk with people who I assumed were his friends. After an hour he excused himself.
I followed him to the single stall restroom and locked the door. “Are you ok?”
He was looking in the mirror. “Is this really all that I am?
“What value is that? I can’t help but imagine this is what my funeral will be like.”
“You can’t think like that.” I touched his face. “You are more than your body or, your mind.”
He looked at me. “Can I kiss you?”
“Yeah.” I smiled. “I’d like that.”
Part 2- Bed
Mr. Curran was sitting in bed watching television. “Charlotte, I’m very sorry.”
“For what?” I asked.
I moved closer and saw he’d wet the bed. Attempts at catheterization had been abandoned, clearly too painful.
I helped him off the bed, into his wheelchair.
“My stomach is hurting,” he groaned.
“Once I finish cleaning, I’ll bring you some food.”
I changed the sheets then I stripped him naked, laying his body on the bed.
I could feel the tremors in his hands. “Do you need something for the pain?”
He shook his head. “Pain is the only way to know you’re alive.”
“I could think of another way.” I knew he had a weak heart so I was always gentle when I touched him. Cleansing wipes in hand I went first for his thighs, caressing his skin, then between his legs. I could feel him growing in my hand, like a baby bird.
“Charlotte?” he moaned.
“Do you love me?”
I was not expecting such a question. “I’ve been your nurse for two years…”
“Take your clothes off.”
My heart was pounding. I could have said no, or walked away. But that wasn’t what I wanted. I was a girl from a fishing village and he was a retired law professor, but in that moment we were equals.
His hand reached for mine, coaxing me into bed. “I want you.”
I replied simply, with a kiss. “I love you.”
When someone needs you, you can’t help but love them.
Part 3- Sunrise
I awoke to the sunrise, in Mr. Curran’s arms. “Next time I want you on top,” I said as I playfully nudged him awake.
He looked at me with his adoring eyes. “Perhaps after the baby is born.”
“I look forward to that day,” I said with an ethereal grin. We had been making love every night, sometimes multiple times. My lover was insatiable.
Although still sick, his vitality had never been stronger. “Would you ever marry me, Charlotte?”
“Let’s not talk about marriage. I wish to walk in the garden.” I maneuvered my pregnant stomach out of bed. Putting on my robe, I gazed at the wheelchair in the corner gathering dust.
My lover dressed and reached for his crutches. “Could you assist me with my shirt?”
“Leave it unbuttoned,” I said as I stroked his face, coaxing a smile to his lips.
In all honesty, I would marry him in an instant.
We walked through the majestic garden, under the warm morning sun.
I held Mr. Curran’s hand. “There is such beauty in this world. And our daughter will know it all.”