There is a voice that whispers to me in the middle of the night, telling me my boyfriend is going to die. While he snores, while his breath is thick and heavy, I am reassured that he lives. It’s when he is quiet that I worry. I reach out to touch his back to make sure his chest is rising and falling, I watch the bedspread to make sure there is movement.
But I know that even if he continues to breathe there is danger ahead. Stroke, heart attack, cancer, all silently creeping up on us in the dark, eager to snatch the only thing I have ever truly loved away from me.
The worry sits like a hot hard fist inside my rib-cage, making my own breath shallow and strained. Death, once visited leaves an indelible stain on every single moment. Who is next? My mother, my father, my brother, my friend, someone I loved on television or in a movie.
Death comes to us all so why does it frighten me? Not my own death, I’m not worried about that, but the loss of those around me. I cling to them, willing them to stay for as long as possible and yet always knowing I can only hold on to a finite amount of days, hours, minutes until somewhere in the future their luck no longer holds.
I am selfish and self absorbed, only thinking of my own grief. I know how hard it is to lose someone, someone I didn’t love, so the thought of losing someone I do love seems unbearable.
So I worry, I lie awake at night listening to the sound of my boyfriend snoring, holding my breath in the pauses between his inhale and his exhale.
It is all in my head for now. But one day, a day that hasn’t yet been named, I will feel the soul of the dearest man I know ripped from my heart. There is nothing I can do.