Originally written for a friend. There’s a crick in my neck, and I think that’s what wakes me—the discomf ...
It started with a cough.
Neither of us thought it was anything. Just a cough, right? Everyone gets them. And like every other cough, it eventually went away. Mostly.
Occasionally it would come back. This dry, raspy hack that lasted for a few seconds, a minute. Then it would be gone. Adara would rub her chest, make a face, maybe glance at me. Those started lasting longer than the coughs. She’d rub her chest, clearing her throat and wincing. Adara had stopped looking at me by then, not wanting to see the concern I looked back at her with.
We fought over them, those looks. Adara would protest, insisting nothing was wrong. Just a little tightness in her chest, a little pain. It was fine.
I disagreed. But the fights only made it worse, so I stopped. I stopped looking, stopped arguing, stopped begging.
I stopped, Gods help me, and Adara got worse.
Her chest hurt almost constantly by then, but it was worst at night. She would lay next to me, holding her chest in her sleep, filling the darkness with a faint whimper of pain.
“It hurts,” she would whisper in the night. “Burns.”
The day she couldn’t get out of bed for the pain, Adara finally let me call a doctor. All the way to the hospital, she cried, tears leaking salty trails while the same words poured out of her with them. “Hurts. Burns.”
By the time we got to the hospital she was screaming. “Make it stop, Em. Please, I’m so sorry, make it stop.”
They rushed her into surgery, but I knew. Deep down, I’d always known.
Adara’s heart was my star. She was my sun. I’d felt her heat every day of our life together. If they’d just let her be, if they’d listened, found a way to stop time, to cool the fire.
But they didn’t listen, and when they opened her up, in the brief moments before their lives were consumed by her fire, they understood.
Adara’s heart, my shining star, my blazing sun, had become a supernova.
Now, she is the black hole in which I reside for eternity.