She had heard him coughing over his poem in the far off room, could no doubt imagine the fine spray of blood that was probably even now covering his crisp writing paper. It would not be long now before he was too ill to write. This was a period that she had been dreading, even as he sought to convey the full confection of his feelings for her in his short, often romantic, poems detailing their shared life together.
Today, however, was a different story. She had already heard him earlier, muttering under his breath about the lines that had formed on his paper in the distinct rays of the morning sun. Once or twice she thought she had even heard him growl in resigned and quiet anger. Why didn’t he stop, rest and enjoy the short time that they had left? Why hadn’t they eaten breakfast together the past few days, as they normally would have either in the light yellow breakfast room or in one of the cafes that proliferated the nearby shopping arcade?
She knew, of course, why he had been focusing on his writing, even more so in the autumn of his life, ever since that damn diagnosis. It was to be a slow decline for the writer of such fiery youthful polemics, which had made him his name as an author in the country of his birth. There was to be a steady lessening of his commands, a slow fire that would rise up from his belly and engulf his lungs so that in his last days he would feel as if he was drowning in flames.
They both faced this poetic decree by his doctor with solid stoicism, unmoved by his descriptions and livid features, the jowls that so willingly proclaimed the closing chapter of a life well lived. She had swallowed hard that day, had pushed down that knot of fear, pushed it down so deep she had barely registered its original presence. Yet it lingered, as the ghost of an early morning dream does to those that live the day believing that they are forgetting something fundamental in their routine. Guilt mingled with the fear, the fear that, even if he were to pass as she was still undecided on this matter, she would remain in this house built for two alone. Her coming winter was to be spent in silent reflection.
She had somehow forgotten of his ills, perhaps buried them once more, as she busied herself with the tasks of daily life. Filtering the mail, answering calls, fielding journalists. In truth this was a remote interaction with the world at large, her life with him had been steady, filled with the romance of every day love. Gestures that Romero would never have a chance to show to his youthful Juliet that filled theirs instead. avec amour chaque devoir quotidien.
This day she had let him write alone and she thought he was progressing, writing further poems of truly requited love, the kind that beats across the decades and the kind that fills the marital bed with the warm glow of satisfaction. Towards the drawing of the late summer sun she had heard that cough percolate throughout the house time and time again, shaking her core foundation and filling it with a silent dread. She abandoned her tasks and rushed towards the sounds of his frail body, wracked as it was by coughing convulsions. They embraced as one, his eyes holding hers. A quick glance at his desk showed a poem, scribbled all over and dotted with the fine droplets of blood that he had indeed sprayed forth.
It would not be long now.