I Give, Devise and Bequeath (1)
When the hospital let Simona go home as there was nothing else they could do for her, Pierre took her back to their house. In a downstairs bedroom she lay waiting to die. A nurse had been hired to care for her and administer the morphine in doses that would ease her pain for a while and let her sleep and dream. Wonderful dreams of earlier times and filled with happiness and artistic enthusiasm, which sometimes overlapped into her wakeful moments and she would want to get up and get on with life. Then the wretched pain would render her helpless again and she would scream in anguish and despair for the life that was no longer to be had. Pierre looked in on his wife, a few minutes here and there. She was seldom lucid enough to even acknowledge his presence. The doctors had given her a week to live, but she continued to hang on to the threads of life, her heart was so strong.
Pierre had made all the arrangements for her funeral long ago when they first found out her life was to be over within months. Elated with this news, he nevertheless squeezed out some tears which he mingled with her tears, in their embrace. His face a mask of sorrow and pity, telling her he could not live without her. And she, full of compassion, tried to comfort him and affirm their love would go beyond her passing. He had sat at her bedside in the hospital for hours; bored he would lay his head on her bed and sleep until a friend or relative came to visit, and they too would feel compassion for him and sorrow for her. He played the part of a grieving husband so well.
Into the second week of Simona's struggle with the Reaper, Pierre was getting fed up with the whole playacting and wanted it over. He asked the nurse to let him know when
she was lucid enough to talk to and before medicating her again to give him some time
with her. After a couple of hours the nurse said she was coming out of her sleep and it may be best if he went in to her now, as she would need morphine again within the next half hour. She led the way and opened the door for him and watched for a few more seconds as this broken man sat and took his wife's hand and kissed it. Then she left and said she would be back soon.
Pierre kept hold of his wife's hand and stared at the skeletal, aged version of the woman
she was half a year ago. She opened her eyes and recognised him, and gave him a weak smile. He smiled back at her. He told her to be very quiet and still as he had a lot to tell her before she died. She gave a slight nod in affirmation. Then he began by telling her how much pleasure it gave him to watch her die. He had not loved her for many years and would have divorced her long ago except she had the purse, and he didn't. Now, wasn't it fortuitous that she would not live more than a day or two? Simona stared at him, biting back the pain streaming through her body, her only reaction tears trickling down her emaciated face. He continued by listing all the affairs he had during their marriage. The secret vasectomy he had done in Canada on one of his business trips so she would never have the longed for child. He told her of the child he already had with one of his lovers. He had slept with her sister, and her cousin. To top the list he told her of his on-going love affair with her best friend, Deborah. Then he sat back and smiled
at her again.
Unable to bear the physical and the heat-breaking pain of his confession to her, her reality blurred as if in a nightmare, she screamed for the nurse, who came rushing in. He put on his mask of sorrow and left the room and in passing the nurse he said he would be going out for several hours now to clear his head. Poor man, the nurse thought. Simona distraught and in the greatest agony told the nurse not to medicate her yet but to get her best friend Deborah over as well as her lawyer, immediately. Then she asked for a small amount of medication which would not put her to sleep but lesson the pain a little.
The nurse did as she was told and within half an hour Deborah arrived. She thought it was time to say goodbye and was a mess of tears. Simona, as best she could, taking oxygen between sentences, told Deborah what Pierre had given her as a goodbye message. Her friend was so shocked she almost needed medication herself. She swore on the life of her children she had never ever had the slightest physical contact with Pierre. Not once. She wanted to murder him she was so infuriated. Simona waved her hand for her to calm down. She believed her loving friend, and knew even if it had been true; there was not much she could do about it now. The nurse announced Simona's lawyer. He came and sat on the other side of the bed and listened to her last request to change her will. He wrote it all down in the proper legal jargon, so that no mistakes could be contested. Then he asked the nurse whether Simona was of sound mind at this point in time, and the nurse replied it had been hours since she had had her medication and was struggling with enormous pain, but her mind was working sound. She signed a document confirming same. Then, Simona signed the will and it was witnessed by the nurse and Deborah. The lawyer had brought her original will with him, and she asked him to burn it in the bin next to the desk in the room. He did this and the room smelt of smoke for a while. It caused Simona to cough and wear the oxygen mask again. She shook hands with the lawyer and when he left she embraced her beloved friend, who continued to sit with her for the next few hours.
The nurse then gave Simona the morphine she needed to cope and sleep and dream. Dreams so beautiful, full of artistic enthusiasm and life; and when Pierre returned to check on her, Deborah got up and passed him on the way out of the room calling him a rotten bastard, and telling him he would pay for what he had done. It was at this point that Simona was looking down on the scene, feeling the peace and pull into the light. She knew the wreck lying on the bed but it had nothing to do with her anymore. She was filled with the warmth of a love that goes beyond human understanding, and slipped away to the all embracing illumination. Her body gave out the last sigh of breath in her lungs and she was gone.
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