He fluffs her pillow before going to bed and brings a glass of water for her nightstand. He leaves the blinds open for the silver gleam to light her frail figure against the darkness of their room. In the morning, he'll wake before she opens her eyes and make pancakes with berries for her. She'll smile, her eyes sinking into the wrinkles of her ashen face. If the sun is out and if she feels strong, they might go for a slow walk. They won't hold hands the way they used to in the beginning, but their shoulders will touch occasionally while they'll teeter on the cracked sidewalk. They'll stop every now and then so she can catch her breath. She will mention the wilting flowers in the neighbor's front yard and the grandkids who are growing up too fast. And the blue of the sky. He'll think about the results of her most recent biopsy, and why the doctor shook his head while suggesting yet another session of radiation. And about how long it's been since he's washed the compression bandages she uses for her swollen arm. At home, she'll lie down while he'll prepare a salad for lunch. They'll watch the afternoon news on the couch, and she'll make sure the checkered blanket covers them both. After dinner, he will fluff her pillow and bring a glass of water for her nightstand. And he'll lie in the silver light, his toes touching hers under the covers, and try to think about the neighbor's wilting flowers and the grandkids and the blue of the sky.
A writer and photographer, Krisztina Fehervari was born and raised in Hungary and now lives in Texas with her husband and three children. This story was inspired by the love between her parents who fought together with faith and acceptance against her mother's breast cancer. Her mother is now a cancer survivor and enjoys life more than ever. Krisztina's work has appeared in Foliate Oak, Touch, One Million Stories, and elsewhere. To read more of her writing, visit www.krisztina.fehervari.com.