We made it through that first night back at home with relative ease. I set the alarm clock every 2 hours and not wanting to wake his mother or uncle – I dozed with my hand on the clock. When it went off, I snapped off the alarm and made up Cid’s nebulizer. I would then gently wake Cid and place the mask on his face and watch while he inhaled all the good stuff until there was nothing left. Sometimes Cid slept through the treatment, sometimes I did - especially as the hands of the clock crept towards the early morning hours. Between the medications I had to take for my mental stability and just sheer nerves and exhaustion – sometimes I had to curl up on the foot of his bed – and sleep. I was afraid that snuggling up to this incredible man would hurt him in some way or I would be disturbing him – so I let him be.
In the morning Cid managed to shave and shower with a little help from me. For the first time in our relationship I saw him naked – and we both gave each other that sad ironic smile that shared our disappointment over this before he got into the shower. Of course in the end it didn’t matter – we still loved each other as much as we possibly could.
I kept checking to make sure he was all right, and he kept insisting he was. Afraid that he might slip or just give out without the oxygen, I dashed in and out of the bathroom while his mother glared at me. This astonished me as it was obvious that Cid needed a caregiver and that she was unable to do it herself. Cid knew what I was talking about as we whispered together while I helped him get dressed. He patted my shoulder and stated the obvious – his mother just couldn’t come to terms with any of it.
When he was dressed, the four of us again gathered around Cid’s little dining table and ate our breakfast. His mother loaded our plates and pushed food down her son’s throat – oblivious to his denials of wanting more.
Afterwards, Cid made a big show of stating his wishes. He told me that if he didn’t do it in front of his mother that she would deny and not believe anything that was said.
“Do you have a will Cid?” I asked. When he shook his head my mouth fell open. What was a lawyer doing without a will? Here was an obvious case of ‘it won’t happen to me’.
Turning his chair to face the room he called me to him in a loud voice so his mother would hear. As I stood inside his legs with his arms wrapped around my neck, he said “I am leaving you everything I own Aims. My mother will get the car and the money from the condo sale and my bank account – but everything else goes to you.”
“Oh Cid,” I said quietly and hung my head. From the corner of my eye I could see the daggers coming from his mother and I leaned into him and let his arms protect me from her. I gasped a bit when I felt his arms withdrawing from around me and I watched as he unclasped the gold chain from around his neck and held it out in front of him.
“I want you to have this Aims. You see these two gold hearts dangling here on this chain? This heart is mine and the other is yours. They will be together forever and when you wear it, it will lie up against your own heart and you will feel me with you – always.”
Turning me around, he draped the shining gold around my neck and did up the clasp. Looking down at the two little hearts against my chest I could feel the warmth from Cid’s body still clinging to them. As I looked up again my eye caught those of his mother’s and all I could feel was the coldness from her stare.