When she got sick, he moved forward to lay her on the bed. She breathed heavily and gasped but when her head touched the pillow, she closed her eyes. He stayed the rest of the hour looking at her drifting in and out of sleep by the edge of the bed.
He left her to cook something and though he knew he shouldn’t, he left the kitchen many times to find her still sleeping and barely moving under the sheets. He stood as long as he could.
“I made some soup,” he said when he noticed her waking up, fidgeting and trying to wet her mouth and lips. “Have some water. Here…”
“Agh…,” she said as she gulped.
He helped her to sit, leaning against the pillow, and held the table where she ate. She coughed as she shook the spoon into her mouth. Her eyes could barely keep themselves open going from the soup, to a part of his face, to her hand. She did not say anything or changed the sullen expression from her mouth.
“Thanks,” she mumbled when she finished. Her eyes went black again and with nothing better to do, all he did was stroke her hair, trying his best not to make her realize how much he was trembling and how worried he was.
He clenched his fist as he touched her face and felt how hot she felt. It made him feel helpless in all matters to know that he could do nothing for her. She was in so much pain and he wasn’t but he needed to make her know that he understood. If nothing else, he understood that he could do nothing but still was willing to try. To see her this weak made him unsavory things regarding her, regarding him, regarding everything he ever learned and was taught about love and companionship. If this is the pain I must feel, he thought, whenever you are feeling pain… what does that make me?
“I’m here,” he said and nothing else because he did not feel safe or prudent enough for it.
“Thanks…,” she said and coughed a little more.
He looked at her and did not feel like kissing her but loving her. It’s so strange, he thought. He wrapped his arms as unobtrusive as possible around her so she could fall asleep once again. Before he could say something else, she was and he felt that sensation again. He chose to embrace whatever change was coming because, even if he felt useless, he still needed her to get well. He still wished for her.