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By Tina & Jetset
The beeping of the heart monitor is piercing my ears and the dripping of the IV is working on my nerves. Everything in this room is a constant reminder that there is a person laying in the bed behind me….As if I need a reminder for that. All is wrapped in the unique penetrating smell of hospital, that I by now even smell when I’m not here. The wind is hauling around the tall building, bending the branches of trees in the park, the rain slamming against the window. I feel empty. I’m hoping beyond any reason that when I turn around the bed will be empty and there won’t be a woman lying in it, the woman that I endearingly call my reserve mother. Renee, the woman that felt like family from the moment I moved to Paris to be with Bette five years ago, Renee was our neighbor, my friend, my confidant and Bette’s witness at our wedding. The memories of all that we shared keep on haunting me.
Since I returned to Paris, alone, five months ago she has been my rock and so much more. When I arrived I was completely devastated with my world shattered, Renee was there to listen to me, to help me get up, to understand without judging and never once she stopped saying that everything will be ok. Countless times I found myself crying in her arms and she would just hold me till the point that my tears dried out. I’m still a mess, I’m still hurt, I’m still lost but I’m also utterly scared, since last month when she discovered she has cancer and she won’t live much longer. Even then, she was more concerned about me and how I would deal with it, then about herself.
Turning away from the window and finding her fragile posture laying in the bed, I still can’t believe how incredibly fast it all went down. The doctors think she doesn’t have much time left. I spend a lot of time here, she doesn’t have anyone, and we are finding comfort in each other’s company.
It are these moments, when Renee is sleeping, that my feelings are the loudest and that I miss Bette the most….besides all the other moments. It has been five months since I have last seen her. The longest five months of my life. The day I went to tell her that I would leave to Paris, wanting to give her space, hoping she would stop me from leaving, was the last time I saw her. I still remember her unreadable face and the numb eyes that looked right through me. We didn’t say much. She barely said a word. I just left. Every day I’m hoping she will reach out to me. And with every day that is passing, my hope is fading. But I promised to give her space and that I will do, until there is no hope left. Since then we have exchanged only a few mails, about general things that married couples have to deal with on an everyday basis, those boring administrative things that are completely unimportant. We carefully avoid to talk about our feelings or about us. I have no clue what we are doing, where we stand, how she feels, what she does. She is like some kind of phantasm in my life; I know she exists, but she is out of my reach. I called her immediately when we got the results from Renee, she barely reacted and didn’t tell me if she is coming or no. Probably not. I don’t know how much longer I can stand this situation of not knowing. But all that will have to wait until…..after. With a rough gesture I wipe away my tears. Renee is still asleep, her breathing steady, her face peaceful. Reassured, I turn back to stare out of the window. My thoughts drift away again as raindrops continue to drip down the misty glass, they mimic my tears that today can’t seem to stop falling.