AA-meetings – Chapter 21: Abattoir

Abattoir

2020


“You look like shit,” George laughs when he walks into the bedroom of the girls.

Alex is spread across the bed. Amy’s lying next to her – upside down. She’s practically hugging her wife’s leg. In the living room, the bald man passed the spiritless bodies of his nephew and his girlfriend. They ended up on the couch. Susan – well, nobody really knows where she disappeared to with that rocker boy. It was a memorable party. So memorable nobody remembers a damn thing. How the hell did they even get home? Sure the paparazzi will show them in a few hours.

Alex opens an eye and immediately realizes that last night might be one of the dumbest ideas she’s ever had.

“Dad, what are you doing here?” she mumbles while covering her face under the sheets.

There’s barely any light, yet it’s killing her. Her old man tries to find the fun side in all of it, but he’s well aware that his daughter shouldn’t be drinking. He just came to check up on his little girl.

“It reeks like alcohol in here.”

“I dropped a bottle,” Alex explains while reminding herself not to puke.

She crawls on her knees and is so proud of herself after discovering she put on a pajama when she got home. No memory of that what so ever.

“In your mouth?” her father smiles.

She needs a second to remember what the conversation is about. Oh, right. Bottles. There have been a lot of those yesterday. Very expensive champagne bottles.

“I drank like an immortal last night. So excuse me while I’m having the hangover of my life,” she apologizes.

He gets her up on her feet and immediately notices how worn out she is.

“Are you okay?” he asks.

She nods. Going out might not have been the best idea, but it was the most fun. She’d be miserable if she had missed it. Not that she’s feeling any better right now. When she quickly glances at her wife, she can’t help but smile. Amy looks like a drowned cat covered in piles of sheets and towels – head down. Did she take a shower late last night before dropping into bed? Did she jump into a fountain? Who knows?

Ten minutes later, she’s seated at the kitchen counter, cupping a strong cup of coffee her daddy made her, wearing shades. David and Julia continue their beauty sleep in the living room.

Alex’s body feels week and all her muscles are cramped. The sunglasses covering her eyes are hilarious, especially with her fluffy hair pointing in all directions. Ultimately, Amy joins them and she can’t stop yawning for a solid fifteen minutes. George snickers.

“Yesterday was awesome,” the blonde whispers with a sore throat after tenderly kissing her wife. “Today is horrible.”

She reaches for the sunglasses on Alex’s nose, but the Latina playfully fights her off. George softly smiles over the cute interaction. These girls have been lighting up his life ever since they stepped into it. They forget about the presence of Alex’s father for a while and pull each other close for a loving kiss, arms wrapped around each other. Even hungover, they can’t stop this behavior.

“Are you okay?” Amy asks all concerned when they part.

Her fingers linger over the cheeks she adores to smooch while her eyes execute a thorough examination of her wife’s body. Alex nods and can’t help but think all of this worrying is dead-cute.

“I love these sunglasses. Am I staring at that painting? Am I staring at your boobs? Who knows!?” the model jokes the most obvious joke.

She buries her head between Amy’s braless chest and makes the blonde giggle. George holds up his hand in a protesting way and sighs.

“Enough, enough,” he orders them. “You’ve had all night to do that.”

Amy scoffs and takes a sip from her lover’s cup of hot coffee.

“You’d think. But someone passed out the second we got home,” she smirks. “Right after she told me she had superpowers. She took a cute, little run-up and jumped on the bed.”

Amy holds her hand up in the air to demonstrate the curve of Alex’s movement. George patiently awaits the next part, but the girl just shrugs.

“And that was it. She fell asleep right that second. Nothing but drool and snoring for the next few hours. Quite the superpowers.”

Alex’s small fingers poke her wife, but her movements suddenly completely stop. A stinging feeling just passed her ribcage and that didn’t feel right. Nothing that didn’t happen before, though. She’s used to it by now.

“You can’t do this to your body, Alex. It’s not good for you,” George gently explains after witnessing the change in her behavior.

“I can do whatever I want, dad. Sad truth,” Alex coughs while shutting her eyes tightly.

She breaths in and out. And again. It slowly starts to feel better. Amy carefully and supportively caresses her cheek, hoping the soft gesture might help her get through it.

“No one listens to me anymore,” the old man mumbles as he rolls his eyes.

Amy, completely absorbed by the intensity of pain that’s taking control of Alex’s face, looks up all confused and frowns: “I’m sorry. You were saying?”


Dr. De Weerdt has started an experimental treatment he used in Belgium a few times. In some cases, it worked. In others, it failed terribly. Alex doesn’t care, though. As long as she’s trying, she’ll feel better about herself. Because if she won’t, it’d mean she’s giving up. And she can’t do that. She owes Amy her best effort – her biggest fight. The girls are preparing for another stay at the hospital. Normally, Alex will stay there for about two weeks. But that might change along the way. She’s weak right now. Weaker than usual. Her sickness is catching up with her energy level. The New Year’s Eve party last week took about all she could handle. Ever since then, she has laid in bed and slept. Amy took work home and spent all her free time by her side: computer on her lap, Alex’s head on her shoulder. When their friends wanted to visit, Amy urged them to keep their distance for a while. Alex hated that people could see her like this and her wife understood.

“Sweetie, have you seen my glasses?” Alex annoyingly sighs through the apartment. “I’m in a situation where I’m aware that I own glasses but I lost the glasses and now I need the glasses to find the glasses.”

Amy’s astonished about that little literary work of art and smiles. When she walks into the living room, she finds her wife heavily panting on the couch. She must have gone through the apartment, searching for the glasses she loathes so intensely. The smallest movement seems to be a lot of work lately.

“Here,” Amy says, while holding them up for her to see – they were in the bedroom. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

Alex smiles as she puts the black instrument on her nose and heaves a relieved sigh once she recognizes the things around her.

“You can talk to me for two minutes if you like,” she amusingly assures her.

Her hand faintly pats the empty seat on the couch. Alex’s body is drained, hence the lack of enthusiasm. It’s a nervous feeling that’s creeping up on Amy. This whole checking into hospital thing is scaring her, mainly because during all previous committals her wife was in a clearly better condition. Something about dr. Cullers diagnose – about Alex probably not making it another year – won’t let her go. Because what if it’s true? What if, despite all of Alex’s brave comments and determination to fight, she will be gone soon? What if those funeral plans will take place?

Her fingers search for those that have held hers for years now. Those who know her skin best. She nervously inhales and exhales and squeezes the caramel flesh she adores. Alex asks her what’s wrong.

“Sweetie, I’ve been thinking. What if …”

She can’t even say it without tearing up. Alex faces her and caresses her cheek. She knows what this is about. Amy’s scared. So is she.

“You need to promise me that, if this doesn’t turn out well – if you … die – promise me you’ll say goodbye to me.”

Her eyes are dark and determined. Alex nods while experiencing a tremendous heartbeat taking control of her chest. She wouldn’t dare to leave this earth without saying her last words to Amy.

“And you’ll talk to Him. Or Her.”

Suddenly, the Latina frowns all confused and even dares to smile: “What?”

“God,” Amy bravely continues.

It’s a dream she had last night. A dream in which it all happened and she found a way out. It won’t let her go. She’s not even sure if she believes in God. But there’s a small chance – and that’s enough.

“If you die and you see God, beg. Plead. Yell, shout, threaten. Throw a vase at him, if necessary. But fight and refuse to do anything until you get to come back to me. Promise me.”

It’s so desperate, it’s borderline cute. Alex heaves a defeated sigh and lowers her head.

“It doesn’t work like that, babe,” she whispers softly, afraid it’ll break Amy’s heart.

But Amy refuses to give up hoping, so she shakes her head all sad: “You don’t know that.”

Her eyes are filled with tears. Just looking at them makes Alex’s heart bleed. The model opens her arms and pulls her wife in for a tight hug. The small body of Amy crashes on top of her.

“It’ll be okay, babe,” she shushes her. “No matter what happens. It’ll be okay.”


They checked in. Alex got her first round of special treatment in the luxury room they reserved for her. First there were scans, then there were injections. Finally, bags of chemotherapy got connected to her IV. Now she’s in bed all day and all night, mostly asleep, rarely awake. Whenever her eyes open, she asks for Amy. The blonde is always by her side, holding her hand or running fingers through her short hairs. She cancelled work for a couple of months, just to be with the woman she loves. She’ll cancel it forever if she has to.

David walks into the hospital bedroom and finds his old friend on the windowsill. Her hair’s a mess, her eyes look tired. She’s been up all night, listening to the troubling and moaning noises echoing from Alex’s battling body. Every time Alex stirs in bed, her eyes flare open wide.

“Hi,” he whispers. “What’s going through your mind?”

His eyes glance at the sleeping Alex for a second, before making his way over to Amy. The blonde doesn’t really turn her head. She just stares into the distance and sighs in a dramatic way. This windowsill has been her thinking bench for a long while now. It’s where her brains start working.

“You know, I used to think that your whole life, you were supposed to work toward a goal. Studying, working, practicing your skills. All for a greater cost. For that dream job, that little extra money. I did that. I studied really hard, I got into the best schools, I’m in my late twenties and I already have an amazing career.”

She then looks at him and he can’t really respond. Julia isn’t with him. She stayed at home, simply because there aren’t a lot of visitors allowed. She’ll visit in the morning.

“But I was wrong,” she continues after realizing he won’t say a word. “And it’s so stupid that I didn’t realize it earlier. Finding her, being in love with her, that’s the thing that has truly fulfilled my life. It has made it extraordinary. And none of those things that have kept me occupied had anything to do with it. They just kept me away from my main goal: making her happy. And guess what? I did make her happy, with that little time I had with her. I put a smile on her face, made her laugh out loud, made her feel safe when she got scared. Me, I did that and I didn’t even have to do anything special.”

Amy points at her own chest, like she barely even believes it herself. David walks over to her and puts his hand on her shoulder. She runs her fingers through her tangled hair and sighs. He nods, like he understands what she’s talking about. Maybe he does – he found happiness with Julia. He finally realized what it is to be in love. To be utterly consumed by your feelings for someone else.

“Loving her has been the point of my life. And now that I realize it, I have to say goodbye to her. You know, I keep saying the same thing – that it isn’t fair. And it’s true. Because I deserve another fifty years with her, really. To put that same smile on her face again, to see those dimples on her cheeks when she does and to have this amazing, exceptional feeling when I realize that I am the cause of it. Do you know how wonderful it is to be with her? How everything she does and every word she says enlightens my day? How it pains me not to spend every second of the day with her when I’m gone? Do you know how badly I want all eternity?”

David does. He has seen these girls all his life. There couldn’t be a bigger example of love. Everything he knows, everything he feels whenever he’s around Julia, it has played in front of his eyes before. During sleepovers or parties. While they sat around the dinner room table or jumped up and down the big couches of the Ochoa house. Whenever Alex looked over at Amy and she looked back and the rest of the world disappeared. All these AA-meetings are marked in his memory.

“I understand,” he tells her. “I really do. I want another fifty years of my amazing friendship with her as well. But we have to accept that we probably can’t have that. We can, however, get the most out of the remaining time we have together. And with those memories that are already up in here …”

He lays his index finger on her forehead. She closes her eyes all desperate.

“… and here …”

His hand moves to her heart.

“… she can live on forever, even though losing her might not have been fair.”

It’s bullshit. At least to Amy it is. She can’t stand seeing her wife like this, so helpless and fragile. Alex is a fighter. She’s a raging devil, never afraid to kick the problem square in the balls. If she won’t make it, no one will. Why isn’t it working this time?

It has been weeks now. Weeks of trying and experimenting and nothing seems to work. In fact, Alex only deteriorates. She’s getting more sick and weak as the hours pass.

“She calls this an abattoir,” Amy eventually sighs.

“Abattoir?” David repeats all confused, not immediately following Amy’s change of subject.

The blonde nods and mysteriously smiles: “She never did get any further than the letter A in the dictionary.”

When she looks over to one of her dearest friends, she finds his troubled eyes.

“It means ‘public slaughterhouse’,” she explains. “You know her, always finding the most charming aspects in a situation.”

Machines are beeping and wires are pushing fluids into the fragile, skinny body of Alex. It’s hard to witness. Something about this hallway does exhale the atmosphere of a slaughterhouse, once you go searching for it. David invites Amy for a cup of coffee down the hall. She accepts the offer. Getting out of this room might clear her mind for a second.


Another three weeks pass. George offered to trade places with Amy, so she can get some rest. Naturally, Amy refused. Every night anew, she falls asleep on the uncomfortable bed next to Alex luxury hospital bed. It squeaks and it hurts her back, but nothing will get her away from Alex’s side. The doctors are barely talking to the family, mostly because they don’t have a lot of positivity to spread. Each time George or Eli inform themselves about Alex’s current condition, Dr. Cullers charismatic smile faints. And as soon as Dr. De Weerdt addresses them, he emphasizes the lack of guarantees this treatment has. The guy’s hasn’t returned to Belgium once.

Amy slowly starts to accept that her supermodel wife might not be a superhero. In between visits from family members, the girls discuss funeral arrangements. It makes them sob silently. At times Alex is so lucid that Amy holds out fashion magazines for her to judge. Snarky comments make her smile. Anything to make the Latina smile.

Her caramel skin seems grey now and her eyes are small. Those lean fingers are nothing more but skinny bones and her hair has fallen out once again. Still, nothing can convince Amy of the fact that she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Her wife. She gets to call her her wife.

Susan is standing on the other side of the window that’s keeping her from the room Alex is in. There’s an air pressure system that makes sure no unclean outside air gets into the room, to avoid infections. That’s why so little people are allowed inside. When Amy notices her old friend, she nods to tell her she’ll be there soon.

When they face, the girls hug.

“How are you?” Susan asks all worried.

She curiously searches for Alex, who’s fast asleep. Susan hasn’t seen her with eyes open in a long time. Amy just shrugs and walks her to the nearby coffee corner. She spends most of her days on this floor. Each time she gets hungry of thirsty, this room is the place to be.

“Dr. De Weerdt came by an hour ago,” Amy tells her.

Her eyes are all puffy and swollen. It’s from crying. Susan doesn’t really want to say anything, but Amy’s clothes are dirty and wrinkled. Maybe Alex accidentally threw up on them. Maybe Amy didn’t notice. It wouldn’t be the first time.

“It doesn’t look good,” Amy continues. “But I guess we already knew that, right?”

Her tough act fails terribly. Especially in front of Susan. There’s no room for jokes or sarcasm here, which makes the girl rather uncomfortable. Instead of saying anything, she offers her a piece of cake she brought along. Amy has always loved cake. The blonde takes a small bite and it’s clear how much it takes of her to swallow the sweets. Food isn’t exactly on her mind lately. All she thinks about is that helpless creature in that bed, attached to machines and wires. It kills her to see Alex mumble in her sleep, when she’s dreaming or hallucinating. It kills her to hear her breathing with so much trouble.

“She might be gone soon,” Susan nervously concludes. “Have you thought about life after that? About what you’re gonna do? Move back home to your parents or stay here?”

There’s been a lot of talking, just not to Amy’s face. All her friends and family are really worried about the person that’ll be left behind. It’s a tragedy that Alex might die. And all facts point in that direction. Now more than ever. But nonetheless, Amy’s the one to pity. She’s the one that’ll have to face this life alone once Alex passes. A lot of people fear she might not be capable.

“I don’t know,” Amy sighs as she puts her hands around the cup to feel the warmth. “I started thinking the way she does, you know. Day to day is as far as it gets in my mind lately. She has always been the most important part of my life, meaning that I don’t know what it is to have a life without her. I am scared shitless to think about that opportunity. Because it’s unreal to me.”

Susan nods, but puts her hand on top op Amy’s shoulder to offer some compassion.

“You’ll be fine. You’ll pick up the pieces and you’ll be fine.”

That’s easier said than done. But what is a person supposed to say?

“Except I won’t. Even when we broke up and I moved on, it’s like – she always had some sort of power over me. Like she was never really gone. I dated girls and boys, then I met Christopher, but I swear: it never felt right. She’s been the love of my life ever since we met in kindergarten. No other person came even close to rising a spark inside of me the way she did – still does. I’m afraid that once she dies, I’ll never allow myself to fall in love again. I’ve had the opportunity before, and I was angry enough – heartbroken enough – to actually believe in it. And nothing ever happened. Nobody is as matching as she is.”

Susan likes this romantic side of her friend. She has always believed in the power of their love. The power that, no matter what, Alex and Amy would make it through everything.

“So you’re saying you’ll never move on? You should, for her. It’s what she’d want.”

Amy shrugs and tears up immediately. Thing is: she doesn’t want to move on. She’d be happy lying in bed all day, crying until the sun comes up, just thinking about Alex. But of course she can’t do that.

“I’m going to miss her forever, which scares me tremendously. It’s gonna hurt, every step of the way and every second of the hours that’ll pass. And I swear that I’ll continue to live life to the fullest: I’ll go on holidays and work hard to accomplish goals. I’ll be that kick-ass editor she dreamt me to be. I’m going to have that baby we talked about and raise that little person to be a perfect little creature. But I will never love anyone as passionately as I love her. With such commitment and dedication. And you know what? That’s okay with me. Because I’ve had her. And it was a privilege.”

The blonde stands up and walks away. She leaves her best friend sitting silently. Susan heaves a deep sigh and shakes her head: this situation is utterly fucked.


“Are you afraid?” Alex asks with a soft, faint voice.

It seems like talking hurts. The blonde puts her soft fingers on the damaged lips of her wife. She kisses her temple and crawls on the bed, next to her, just to hold her tight. It makes Alex smile. Anything for a smile these days.

“I’m scared that I’ll miss you forever and I’m scared that I won’t. I’m scared that every second of my life from now on will be controlled by the memories of you, with grief over you, with missing you. At the same time, I’m scared I’ll forget you, or little things about you. That one day, I’ll wake up in the morning and not think of you the very first second I open my eyes.”

Alex slowly moves her fingers up and down Amy’s bare forearm. She likes the touch of her. And her smell. Lots of her senses have been disabled for some reason, but she can still smell her. Vanilla cream.

“It’s okay to sometimes think about other things than me, babe,” she whispers. “When I’m gone, I won’t be in your life anymore. That doesn’t mean you have to stop living too. It just means that … it’ll be hard. And yes, I hope that you’ll think of me when you wake up, and when you go to bed. And sometimes even in between. But I won’t hate you if you don’t. I could never hate you.”

Amy wraps her arms around the fragile body a little bit tighter, as if she’s afraid to let go. Her heartbeat increases, just like the level of fear sneaking up on her. She can’t believe all the conversations they’ve been having lately. All those words about death. And funerals.

“We had so many dreams together, sweetie. You and me were supposed to …”

But she chokes before the words are said. Alex just nods, while concentrating on her breathing. That little tube in her nose has been bugging her ever since they gave it to her, but it’s necessary. Breathing doesn’t come as easily anymore. Nothing does. If only the medication would work. If only the experiments and efforts paid off.

“Dreams disappear when you wake up,” Alex eventually reveals the secret.

But Amy disagrees: “They don’t when I wake up next to you.”

They are so close together that their heartbeats are aligned. Alex’s is soft, while Amy’s pounding through her chest.

“Remember our wedding?” the blonde suddenly wonders.

Alex nods quietly. How could she ever forget. It was the most beautiful day of her life. She had the honor of marrying the most gorgeous woman on this earth.

“I especially remember the party. And the afterparty,” Alex mischievously smirks in silent pain.

“Our wedding night,” Amy nods with a big smile. “That was epic. And the night after our wedding night too. Except for your granddad walking in on us.”

Alex snorts and accidentally loses her nose tube for a second. Amy’s careful fingers put it back in place.

“I am so glad I married you, Alex,” she tells her. “I am so proud to call you my wife.”

The Latina closes her eyes briefly and allows the compliment to sink in.

“Well, you did marry a Victoria’s Secret Angel. That’s quite the achievement,” she brags.

So sick, still strong enough to be sassy. Amy rolls over and kisses the side of Alex’s lips. Normally, she’s the one getting that kind of kisses.

“When you walked down that isle – my heart stopped beating,” Amy admits. “You looked so beautiful. Even now, you are still gorgeous.”

“I’m not,” Alex objects with a sense of self-loathing.

But Amy puts her hand on top of Alex lips to make her stop talking.

“Shut up. You are gorgeous. You have the most enchanting eyes. I get lost in them every single time – it’s distracting. And you have the biggest, brightest smile. The most perfect lips to kiss. The softest voice in the world. And the way you scrunch your face when you laugh over my ridiculous jokes is super cute. And -”

She bends over to whisper in Alex’s ear teasingly as her hands crawl up to Alex’s chest.

“- you have the nicest set of tits I’ve ever seen.”

She squeezes them briefly. Alex grins in a naughty way and then cups Amy’s face.

“Remarkable, how you can make a cancer patient believe she’s still beautiful,” she says thankfully.

Amy shakes her head: “With you it’s easy. I don’t even have to try.”

They kiss, tenderly and soft on the lips this time. Alex realizes she could die a happy woman kissing Amy. She pants, because she’s getting tired.

“I am kind of sorry that you never got to use some of your lame pick-up lines on me. We never really dated, did we? We just went from being little kids to being best friends to being girlfriends,” Amy suddenly realizes. “God, you had such stupid lines when you talked to boys in high school.”

Alex’s weak arm pushes her to object: “Because boys are stupid. Secretly, I just wanted you.”

“Nice one,” Amy tells her with a proud nod. “How did you seduce all your colleague models?”

It takes a while before her wife can answer that question. First of all, she needs to inhale sharply before she can talk. Plus, thing is, that industry is just really weird. Normal doesn’t apply to those people. And not just the models – Alex’s been with singers and artists too.

“You don’t really seduce them. You just randomly ask while you’re undressing after a shoot. The adrenaline of the job makes it a lot easier to cross your boundaries,” Alex explains before coughing loudly.

The blonde’s impressed and wiggles her nose: “Like handing out candy sticks, huh?”

“Something like that,” Alex playfully smirks.

Her eyes quickly turn tired again. Being awake for longer than ten minutes seems unrealistic lately. Memories suddenly bring her back to the actual wedding part. Warm, tropical Mexico. All their friends and family. Sand under their feet and a sea breeze dancing with their hair. It was magical. Everything about the spontaneous event was magical.

“Want to know a little secret about our wedding?” Alex mysteriously whispers.

She closes her eyes and softly smiles. Amy’s going to love this. It’s time she knows.

“What about it?”

“You always complain that I’m the only one – apart from Rick – that met Spencer Riddick,” Alex says, though her words are separated by short gasps for breath. “On several occasions.”

Amy frowns and lifts her head to look at Alex’s peaceful face: “Yes?”

“He was the officiator. He’s the one that married us. Rick asked him to. So you did meet him – you just didn’t know.”

Amy’s jaw drops as her back rises from the bed. What the hell? She doesn’t even remember his face. Just the calmness of his voice, the tenderness when he addressed the couple. The way Alex smiled at him. That was Spencer Riddick? The mysterious fashion God? The legend itself?

“Are you kidding me? Even after meeting him, he remains a mystery?” Amy points out. “Wow.”

Alex opens her eyes again and caresses Amy’s hand.

“I’m sure there are pictures. Just never tell anyone.”

The person next to her lovingly smiles and nods. It’s a promise. Amy runs the tips of her fingers up and down Alex body. They start at her temple and trace the figure of Alex’s face down to her collarbone. They draw a soft line from her breasts to her loin. Then they move to the side of her body and slide back up. She needs to remember her. Her body. Her curves and her perfection. Alex enjoys the touch. She hasn’t been touched like that in over a month. Lately, they just hug each other to sleep. Or Amy sits in that uncomfortable chair while Alex coughs and throws up uncontrollably. Though she feels bad about it, it warms Alex’s heart each time Amy carelessly helps her to get out of the dirty clothes she puked on – even though the nurses offer to do it. When she has to pee, Amy supports her all the way to the bathroom. It’s not even a question, more of an intuition. Amy’s her rock. The one that’s always been there.

“Thanks for never walking out on me, even when I was a bitch,” Alex says.

She remembers a part of Amy’s wedding vows. The entire crowd had a laugh over it back then, but Alex knew exactly how serious her lover was at the time. The blonde nods. It comes naturally, staying with her. There hasn’t been a single moment when she even thought about leaving.

“What about you? Think you’ll still love me until infinity?”

A silence takes control of the room. This conversation suddenly shifts to a darker place. Because right now, thoughts about the afterlife appear. Behind all the gorgeousness she witnesses, there’s the faint appearance of a dying person. There’s the deterioration of Alex’s health. And there’s not a single thing to make it shift. Alex painfully inhales and nods.

“I have always loved you, Amy. I don’t know anything else. Wherever I’m going to after this, you’ll be with me,” she promises.

Amy fights back some tears. She sits back up and pulls Alex in her warm embrace. Alex lifts her weak arms to wrap them around Amy’s waist. Her head rests on the familiar lap.

“Everything okay, sweetie?” the blonde wonders all concerned.

“I’m okay,” Alex coughs with both eyes closed. “I’m ready. We might not have had the happily ever after with kids and puberty ruining our sex life … But for twenty two years, I’ve had you. That’s rare. Even when we were apart, I always had you. The thought of that kept me alive for years. Our love has prepared me for a peaceful goodbye. That’s the prettiest, most wonderful present anyone has ever given me. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me the true colors of love. I love you.”

Amy leans her head back against the metal frame of the bed and bites her teeth in order to keep it together. Her fingers stroke the designer bandana that’s keeping Alex’s bald scalp from being seen. Her girl is falling asleep. She’s exhausted from their talk. She’s exhausted from being awake. Even when George was here earlier, she barely moved a muscle. A lot of times, it seems like she’s floating between unconsciousness and sleep.

Amy’s eyes keep focussed on her fingers – how they keep going back and forth over the piece of fabric on Alex’s head. She hopes it’ll calm her down, that it’ll guide her to a more peaceful dream this time.

The room is deserted. Flowers aren’t allowed, so the family hung up pictures of their gatherings to decorate it a little. The first are some of their wedding in Mexico. The girls look breathtakingly beautiful. Their outfits make them seem supernatural – fairylike. Paparazzi pictures of the proposal scene on the catwalk appear as well. Some of the images are them just strolling down the streets in New York on their way to a meeting. Busy and in a hurry, but still holding hands, as always. Susan, David and Eli and the two of them are combined at a party snap from a couple of years ago. Next, there’s Eli and Jessy – and baby Macy. She’s so big already in that family portrait. In the one far to the right, George, Eli and granddad sit around the table with the Wolfe’s during a family dinner. They all wave at the camera. Amy smiles over the genuine laughter happening in the picture. Her parents look happy. Everyone does. Their first and last photoshoot together is in the center of all of their memories. Amy’s positioned on top of Alex and they suggestively stare into each other’s eyes. God, they make a gorgeous couple. A perfect couple. It has been a wonderful life together.

“I gave everything up for you so easily,” Amy admittedly starts whispering after a long moment of silence.

She’s uncertain if Alex can still hear her. The girl’s heartbeat has slowed down, as has her breathing. She’s probably asleep, even though nowadays you can’t really be sure anymore. But that doesn’t matter. Amy needs this to be said. She needs to confess how she feels about her. About the life they’ve shared.

“I gave you everything so easily. And now that I know the outcome, I’ve seen the path and the terrible ending … Alex, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”

She strokes the top of Alex’s cute nose and mysteriously starts to smile. Alex’s not responding anymore. She’s drifted to another place, in her arms. She’s far gone and Amy’s heart is breaking. It’s breaking with the strength of an earthquake.

“I regret nothing,” she whispers through her tears. “Not a single fight, not even your worst day. Because it was so easy, just being with you. So breathtakingly, utterly joyous, exhilaratingly, perfectly easy. And I’ve never been happier than when I was with you.”

She bends over and barely makes it to kiss her wife’s temple. Her head stays there a little longer. So absorb her touch, to memorize the sound of her breathing. And to whisper how much she loves her.


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