“Thank you for coming” his voice was quieter than she remembered, almost a whisper. But she still caught the rawness that made her breath catch in her chest. She shivered. Pulling up the collar on her coat, she swallowed. The temperature dropped 10 degrees. She wasn’t even sure if the chill was real, she looked around, no one else seemed to notice. In the corner of her eye she glimpsed a child, not more than five or six, in the room opposite. Platinum tipped ringlets bounced loose on the little girls shoulder as she tapped a ball back and forth across the wall. Sensing she was being watched the little girl stopped, looked up and smiled. Jenny couldn’t help but smile back.
She watched, mesmerised as the child turned back and carried on playing. Time moved so fast, she thought, as she wiped at a silent tear trailing her cheek. She looked back across at him. His eyes didn’t quite catch hers. It was as if he was looking past her, through her even. She remembered a time when those eyes had reached to her very soul. Dazzling black orbs that darkened to such a sheen she would catch her own reflection looking back. She coughed.
“I had to, I wanted to say thank-you”
She thought she saw a familiar flicker in his cheek, but he didn’t speak. A subconscious awareness perhaps, but then the mask fell back into place and the moment was gone.
“Thank you for making me strong, for making me understand what real love is” she gulped trying to keep her voice even.
She’d spent so long rehearsing what she’d say she didn’t want to lose it now. She took a deep breath.
“I’m grateful for every day we had, I’m grateful you gave me the strength to be more than I was”
She was sure the tic in his cheek seemed more prominent.
“Without you I wouldn’t know the joy of being alive, of waking each morning and smiling at what might come, or feeling the sun on my face or the rain on my fingers.”
She didn’t take a breath, she just wanted to get it out,
“I wouldn’t know what real passion felt like, or know the fear of burning from the heat when we made love. To cry tears of happiness at the smallest things or feel my heart burst when you cradled the children we made”
She stopped as the words caught in her throat. The tears burned at her eyes and she let them fall.
A noise at the door made her turn.
“It’s time, Mum” her daughter gestured towards the Doctor standing to the side.
“No, no, he spoke, I heard him” her eyes filled with pleading as she looked across at her husband lying still in the bed.
“Mum, he’s gone, let them turn the machine off, let him go”
Jenny hesitated for a moment then looked up and slowly nodded.
“Thank you, my love” she whispered, as the noise of the flat line filled the cold sterile air.