I stared down at the piece of paper in my hands, sitting on the edge of the bed. I could feel my suit wrinkling, crease lines forming in the fabric, but I didn’t care about it.
It didn’t matter. Nothing else mattered. Just the words on that sheet of paper.
With a couple fingers, I absentmindedly twisted the wedding ring around my finger. That was a habit of mine, one that I’d had for many years. I guess I still wasn’t quite used to wearing the thing. Our marriage hadn’t exactly been… traditional.
I wondered whether I should just take the thing off.
I could still remember our wedding, now several years previously. It hadn’t been super well attended, of course – there are only so many people that can squeeze into a hospital room, even the largest one. And with Sarah still needing to be constantly hooked to all of those machines, well, moving her really wasn’t an option.
But despite that, we still managed to squeeze as many people in as the room could hold. More than was recommended, probably. And even though Sarah had to struggle for each breath, I could still see her eyes shining as she pulled away her oxygen mask long enough to repeat back the priest’s lines.
And her eyes never left mine.
What a weird story, huh? Guy visiting a hospital falls in love with a patient. Sounds like one of those crazy stories that you read on the internet in a forwarded email. But I promise you, that’s what happened.
And Sarah loved me back.
(If you’re paying attention, by the way, you probably caught that past tense. Just read on.)
Living like that, as we were, was definitely a challenge. But somehow, incredibly, we made it work. I’d head over to the hospital after every day of work, and we’d laugh away the hours, me perched on the edge of her bed, one arm around her shoulders. We’d compare our meals (mine from the cafeteria, hers from the nurses), and sometimes, after I slipped the nurses a folded bill or two, they’d close the door on our room and give us some time alone.
And throughout it all, we never gave up hope…