She was a young and energetic woman who brightented up the world around her. She tore away the gloom around others whenever they sensed her presence. And he was madly in love with her.
Every Sunday, Monday and Wednesday afternoons Nancy was often seen frolicking in the park, ducking between the trees and her husband Jeremy would chase after her. They made a such a wonderful pair who were the happiest just being in each others presence that some folk felt envious seeing the two together.
Jeremy and Nancy both took a stroll in the park as they usually do but this time Jeremy had noticed that the spring in her step has gone. She shuffled behind him quietly. He aked her if anything was wrong and she said she was fine. Maybe it was just a bad day, he thought. But later on he began to notice her energy had not returned. She seem tired no matter how little she did that day. But nothing worried him more than her sudden fever.
It was nothing more than a fever but he had a lingering feeling that it could be something else. He tried to convince himself it was nothing more than a mild sickness. But the fever would come and go and he had noticed his wife would have coughing fits. It was during a certain moment all hope had left him. He was in the kitchen when his poor wife Nancy was about to come in after him and that was when he had heard her cough. Loud, painful coughs echoed in the hall and suddenly the tapping of his feet as he rushed to his wife. That was when he saw her hunched over, unable to stop, coughing until red dots covered the floor beneath her. That was when he felt as if some evil force had wrapped its hands around his throat.
Jeremy had already known of tuberculosis, the incurable disease at the time, and dispaired at the thought of having to watch Nancy suffer for so long then lose her forever. He rapidly paced outside her room, his fist clenched, seething at the idea she might actually have the disease. She can’t. He can’t lose her, she was the only one for him. Irreplacable. The only person who could ever understand him, his source of hope. He would gladly have tuberculosis instead of her. He would suffer pain and anguish in her place without hesitation if it meant keeping her alive.
His breathing was rapid and audible as he began to gnash his teeth against his findertips, tearing at them savagely. His knees began to quiver and his head spun as he glared at random objects in the hall- the clock, the paintings, the chair- in a hostile manner. He felt unable to stabilize his breathing. His chest felt tight, his head felt like it was being struck with a hammer repeatedly, and suddenly there was nausea. No. Not on the carpet. Not yet. Not on the carpet. Calm down.
He heard the door of Nancy’s room. The doctor came out.
‘I’m sorry’, he said but the words sounded jumbled up to Jeremy who made his way toward him with a dumb expression on his face as he hadn’t understood anything at all.
‘She has it’, the doctor added.
‘What?!’, Jeremy tried to shout but it came out more like a high pitched squeak. He quickly dashed to her door only to be stopped.
‘You can’t! She’s contagious!’, the doctor cried. Jeremy struggled to get out his grasp.
‘I don’t care! Let me see her! I demand to see her at once!’
The door flew open and in came Jeremy running to his beloved wife. He wrapped his arms around her, crying, refusing to let go or he might just lose her.
‘Oh, Nancy’, he whimpered, ‘Oh, Nancy, Nancy, Nancy.’
He tried to kiss her. She pushes him away.
‘Jeremy, no. I’m sick.’
‘I don’t care! I don’t care! Let me have some of it too! So you won’t have to suffer alone! Let me have some of it too!’
‘I don’t want to lose you. I want to be there with you. Forever! So let me! Please! Please!’
Everything went silent until she spoke again.
‘I know you hate it and I hate it as much as you. But what can we do? These things have to happen. I’m not sure why… it’s just what my mother has always told me. Some things just have to happen whether we like it or not. But you must stay strong! You must! So here is what I want from you: I want you to be strong and happy, for my sake. And visit the park every often like we used to. For my sake. Even when I’m not there. Can you do that for me?’
Jeremy couldn’t say anything. She waited for an answer but the very second he opened his mouth, a sob escaped his throat.
‘Please, Nancy, don’t go! Don’t go!’, he wailed as he buried his head in her lap. There he stayed, blubbering like a child for what seemed an eternity.