Jim staggered into the room, dropped his cane and fell on the bed. Through his tears he found her hand and clasped it tightly in his. Already the warmth was fading.
“Bear,” she whispered.
He looked up into her eyes, ones that had not changed a single bit since the day they met. Her thin lips curled into a smile. She tightly squeezed his hand.
Jim broke down right then. Through his shakes and sobs he stammered that life had no meaning without her. She was his lifeblood, his luck, his reason.
“Shh.” She let go of his hand and softly caressed his cheek. “There is always reason.”
Her eyes slipped shut. Her hand lost its grip. Jim took it, shook her. “No. Not yet. Not yet.”
“Let me go,” she whispered. Eyes closed, still the smile.
Jim wanted to say he couldn’t. Wanted to scream it. Instead, he leaned over and kissed her softly, feeling the last warmth drain from her lips.
Sitting there, at her side, was a moment that stretched on forever. Life seemed to stop altogether, right there and then. Jim felt calm. He had cried all the tears in him, had shaken until his body ached. Now there was only emptiness.
At last, Jim stood up. He faced the door. Never before had he looked at it as a gate, a passage into the unknown. Beyond lay a world that was strange, a world without her. He wished he could stay forever in that room, just to stare at that smile. But he remembered her last words. He had to let her go.
One last time, Jim turned back, and this time he smiled. “I’m yours forever,” he said, voice only breaking slightly. “I’ll find a reason.”
And with that, he stepped into his new life.