The words over at Three Word Wednesday are grace, jitter and thin.
She knows he’s much, much too thin and it pains her when they’ve not seen one another in consecutive days and there’s that initial shock that almost comes out in a gasp, which she instead stifles by sucking on her teeth and breathing heavy.
His joints are all knobby and sharp, skin stretched taut like a drumhead. He smiles gauntly and his teeth protrude where his gums have receded. He can see it in her eyes, the jitter of being here in the apartment, so close a proximity to his apparent wasting away. Good, he thinks. Very good.
He shuffles to the sofa in socks that his calves no longer can hold up and settles in, leaving nary an impression in the cushion.
“Sit,” he says, motioning with a bony hand toward a rocking chair, since he knows that doing something, even just rocking a bit, will get her to open up.
She does as he commands, kicks off her heels and with the tips of her stocking feet, pushes herself into motion.
He coughs, a long and tortured rattle and this brings tears to welling in the corners of her eyes. He composes himself by wiping away the foamy rope of saliva that’s bubbled up on his lips with the back of a hand. He hides the hand under the other in his lap.
“So,” he says.
She plants her feet, stops all motion and leans forward, elbows on her thighs, hands together as if in prayer, her chin resting on outstretched thumbs.
“There’s no grace in this,” she says.
He laughs, which causes his wild mane of hair to quiver, accentuating the grotesqueness of his withered features.
“You were the one who said no one ever died from a broken heart,” he says. “You insisted it, in fact.”
Tears are streaming down her face and she refuses to look at him.
“Love isn’t supposed to be this hard,” she whispers. “But yes, goddammit, I’ll marry you.”
But he doesn’t hear this; his ears are filled with the crushing ta-dump, ta-dump of his heart, which is in it’s final throes toward death.