“I got something for you.” Milly smiled in the door frame before walking towards Garnet’s bedside box in hand. Garnet studied her curiously, mouth slightly agape. Milly’s smile only brightened. “May I?” She asked, pointing towards the bed.
“Certainly! Have a seat, Milly.” Garnet tried to offer her a smile in return but he just couldn’t get his face to work that way. He was still too astonished by her being there…on his bed…in his room. Technically it was their room but he had used it alone for so long that he had forgotten how to let her in. He had forgotten how to let her into his heart as well.
Milly had been guilty of that as well.
The box made a hollow sound as Milly moved it about in her hands. She wanted to be comfortable but no so much that she bumped Garnet’s leg. He had broken and broken it good. His femur bone was split right in two! It was going to take a while for it to fuse back together properly. Sure Garnet was in excellent shape for a man of 40, didn’t look a day over 28. Others had told him so, most of them were women, but his bones, they were indeed 40 and the ache that he felt from the split reminded him of that.
It was a curious thing how one could be so loved and praised when they are perfect, but let one thing go wrong, the well dry up, the fame diminish, and soon the only things that will crowd your life are shadows of memories past. That is what happened to Garnet. He was broken and alone…but Milly.
He had not expected her to come back especially not after the ugliness of their divorce. They had gotten so caught up and mud slinging that the mess was too deep to even tell who was at fault anymore. Had there been infidelity, he would not have forgotten, but there wasn’t any. They had just…grown apart, split apart in a messy, painful break just like his thigh bone. Yet after the accident Milly was the first face he saw at the hospital, she was the only one willing to care for him. She was always the only one.
“What is that you have?” He finally managed to ask her. He had to be honest, her kindness still rocked him to the core. Weeks had gone by with her tending to him and still it left him speechless. She left him speechless, both in deed and beauty. Not even the touches of grey that peaked out from her chestnut crown could tarnish that. Milly was just plan beautiful.
She finally showed her teeth and shifted on the side of the bed, her green eyes sparkling as she placed the box on his stomach. “Open it.”
Garnet’s large hands rubbed across the dusty top. His brow pulled together and for some reason his heart began to flutter. He recognized this box. It had to have been 18 years old. He sucked in a breath and forced himself to pull away the lid, all the while flexing his jaw to keep the tears from coming.
In her excitement, Milly pulled the picture frame from the box and placed it on the side table. Garnet could hardly see the image through the veil of tears in his eyes.
“It’s us!” She said. “Remember when we took this? It was so long ago and yet you still look the same. Me, I am turning grey.” She touched her head and sighed. The smile and the spark lingered on her face and in her eyes.
Finally able to see clearly, he picked the frame up from the side table and ran his fingers down the front of it. “You’re beautiful.” His voiced cracked at his said it.
Milly leaned closer, stealing another look at the image. “I was, back then. That’s how I stole your heart. Remember?” She patted his stomach.
Garnet caught her hand and held it so tightly that it stilled Milly. “What is it?” She asked, tucking fallen strands of hair behind her ear.
Finally, Garnet was able to smile even at the risk of the welled tears escaping his eyes. “You are still beautiful, Milly.”
Milly squeezed his hand in return. Leaning even closer, she placed a kiss on his forehead. Garnet’s breath caught in his chest. Her lips were so tender. How had he ever let them go. He touched her check with his hand as she pulled away, the picture pressing against his heart. For several moments they just stared quietly at one another, an air of familiar curiosity floating between them, before she rose from the bed, her smile returning but this time with a touch of bashful color to her cheeks.
“On the mend,” She said breaking the silence. Her statement seemed more a question.
“On the mend,” He repeated and for so many reasons he knew they both meant more than just his leg.
For the last few days the opening lines of this story kept fluttering in my mind, and for several reasons (being super busy with other things while being exhausted) I kept putting off writing it. I am glad I finally got around to it. As with all freewrites, I have no direction of where the tales will go so I was surprised to find this story to be about a 40 year old divorced couple learning how to care for one another again.
I hope you enjoyed it.