(Originally written: May 17, 2020)
My husband isn’t handsome. Not anymore.
The thick blond hair I used to comb with my fingers is gone. His sharp, sculpted cheekbones are now gaunt. His storm grey eyes that struck me with lightning with every glance have been drained of passion. They have sunk into his face like ships that lost a battle at sea. His hands that could grip my waist and take me as his have grown weak. Their calluses are gone, leaving smooth palms that my skin doesn’t recognize. His perfect teeth no longer see the light of day. Not since his smile left us. The muscles that could bear our burden with the strength of a titan have receded. They do nothing more than cover his bones. Should he stand, through some miracle, his 6′4 frame would appear tiny and frail next to me. 5′3.
His heart hasn’t left, tied to me by the ring I pushed onto his finger five years ago. His heart speaks to me and I learn from it. Most of which our lawyer knows. Some of which is just for me. It begs me for forgiveness, which I give. Of course I give it. Every time it asks. It tells me I should love another man when I can. It cries to me that the love won’t be like his but it will be strong.
It talks and talks, draining my husband’s body of strength so that it can continue to beat just one more time. Just one more time. Just one more time. Just…
I take his new hand into mine. I tell him I love him. I tell him that it’s okay. His heart asks what I mean. I tell him. A shadow of his smile comes back and he nods.
Then, I take his ring.