“You are sooo hot?” he whispered in my ear, tickling it with his breathy deep voice as he held me tightly in his arms after the Sunday morning service. It was incredibly daring not to mention inappropriate considering the entire congregation was lingering around us.
“Why not? They all know about us anyway.”
My face burned with embarrassment as he broke his hold on me and moved his hand to his pocket, pulling out a crumpled piece of paper.
“What are you doing Ryan?”
With his usual tomfoolery, he cleared his throat loudly, drawing attention to us just to make a spectacle. If this was his way of teasing me, it was working.
The congregation began to gather around us in the foyer now as Ryan fell to one knee, unfolding the letter in his hand.
“No!” I panicked to myself, heart racing, face an obvious red. “He is NOT proposing NOW!”
“I love you babe,” he smiled sheepishly at me, “…and I wrote you something. It was the only way I could get it out…and…well…I wanted it to be something memorable, something you can read to me when I'm old and grey.”
The congregation smiled and hushed as if they knew what was coming next.
“You are my everything babe. From the first moment I met you, I knew God made you just for me.”
Ryan stopped for a minute, lifting his glasses to brush away a tear.
“…and…I love you so much!”
He sniffled and rattled the letter with his shaky hand. “I wrote this poem for you.”
“You are my radiant sunbeam
Full of beauty and light
You brighten my every moment
And ignite my hearts delight
You are the piece of the puzzle
The part that I needed most
You are my love and passion
That makes me want to boast
You are my always and forever
I want you to share my life
Now that I have your attention
WOULD YOU BE MY LOVING WIFE?”
The crowd cheered as I sobbed an ardent “yes” and kissed the young fool passionately on the lips. It was the start of our long life together, and I still have the letter. I bring it with me each time I see him now, remembering…remembering FOR him.
“You are my radiant sunbeam,” I read softly trying to see the worn paper through my tear filled eyes, hoping it would get easier but knowing that it wouldn’t.
I clutched the old man’s wrinkled hand as he tried to tug it away. “Leave me alone!” he said in his familiar deep voice. But I kept on, determined to hold it anyway, determined to bring him back to me once more.
“You are my always and forever,” I sobbed, this time breaking down. I couldn’t go on. It was hopeless. I just couldn’t reach him.
“Excuse me Mrs. Foster,” a voice interrupted. “It’s time for your husband’s medication…and the doctor wants to speak with you out in the hall.”
I swallowed hard and shook my head, folding up the letter as I walked toward the doctor. I knew it wasn’t good just from the look on his face.
“Mrs Foster,” the man frowned, “You’re husband’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse. I would like to speak with you about long term care. You see, I feel he needs a…professional to take care of him. It’s hard for spouses to cope and VERY frustrating. I’ve talked to you about this before and yet you still insist on taking care of him yourself. That’s why he fell. That’s why he’s here again.”
I shook my head stubbornly, feeling a rush of bitter emotion. “No!” I demanded.
“Mrs Foster, you can’t take care of him anymore. He needs more. He needs someone that can help him. Let’s see, how can I put this so you will understand. Alzheimer’s patients are like puzzles that are missing a few pieces. YOU can’t help him find that piece.”
I sniffled, remembering the letter in my hand as I began to smile. “I beg to differ with you doctor. I’M the part that he needs the most!”
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