The doctor left the room unnoticed by Cid or myself. All we could see was each other. I stared into his brown eyes and felt my world giving way – dissolving down a long dark hole. I can only imagine what he felt.
He held out his arms and I let out a cry and fell into them, feeling them wrap around me and holding me close. I listened to his harsh breathing and tried to pull away to give him the space to breathe, but he wouldn’t let me.
“No. Stay here Aims, while I can still hold you.”
And I did.
He shuffled over on his hospital bed and I crawled up beside him and nestled in the crook of his arm and we held each other without speaking. My tears soaked his hospital gown but he didn’t care and neither did I. I could feel a strange numbness setting in and I tried to fight it because I wanted to feel every single moment I had left with this man. The numbness was stronger than my wishes and it took over – trying to spare me the agony of what might be coming.
Cid’s uncle arrived and was given the news. He held Cid’s hand quietly for a time and then informed us that he was going for Cid’s mother. This was something Cid had been trying to avoid, but he knew he had no choice in the matter. I could see he had accepted what the doctor had said when he gave a tired nod to his uncle’s plan. When we were alone again he shook his head and said,
“Now the dramatics begin.”
When the nurses came in to give Cid some Ventolin in a nebulizer, I slipped out and made two phone calls. My first phone call was to my mother to let her know what had happened. Leaning against the wall I closed my eyes and listened to the prayer she gave for both Cid and I. Then I listened as she told me to be strong for Cid and not to be thinking about myself. I knew that she was going to tell me this, but I straightened up and stood tall as she spoke the words.
My next phone call was to D. It was one I wanted to avoid but so desperately needed as well. I didn’t want to tell him that someone he considered to be a good friend had taken a turn for the worse. I didn’t want to tell him that Cid’s days were dwindling down quickly. What I did tell him was that I was staying as long as Cid needed me. I also told him that if Cid wanted to get married, I would marry him. I wanted Cid to have some happiness in this lifetime, however short it might be. D and I cried together, long and hard.
After that conversation I walked the halls and found a washroom so I could rinse my face and try to hide the evidence of my crying before I went back in to Cid. I didn’t want to be a burden to him when he needed all his strength.
That evening, the nurses brought in a small bed and we shoved the two together and pulled the curtains. Cid and I giggled and whispered together as if we were alone in the world and nothing mattered. As the night hours lengthened we eventually fell asleep holding on to each other, my head tucked underneath his chin and the world a million miles away.
In the morning they came and gave Cid his Ventolin again and told us that they were taking him in an hour for treatment over at the cancer clinic. We looked at each other and our hopes rose once more.