I held her in my arms like the day I picked up my grandmother’s teacup and she threatened me that if I break it, I would have to weed her garden. I embraced her as gently as I could, as softly, while thunderclaps roared inside my body and a hurricane threatened to sweep away the very last atom of my restraint.
"God, I really want to kiss you," I whispered. She was sitting on the edge of the hospital bed. The IV lines attached to her arms like tangled spider webs. She wore the bruises beneath her eyes like badges of courage, the same way she displayed the black and green marring her arms and legs.
"So do," she said. "Kiss me."
"I’m scared I’ll hurt you."
She looked at me with exasperation. I felt her cold touch against my face, her fingers like fish bones. Slowly, she guided me towards her pale, cracked lips. Our lips gently brushed against each other, hers cold; mine warm. I thought of how opposite we were. I wished that if I could just give her my warmth, my life, then she would live longer. But all I could give was an awkward kiss.
When I surfaced, I gazed at her luminous eyes. Perhaps the only part of her that looked so alive. Before I could say the words, she said,
"I don’t need you to tell me you love me, that you will always be there for me. I just need one thing from you. " She took as deep a breath as she could.
“Promise me that when I lose myself, you will find me; that no matter how sick you are of the many times you have done it, you will still look for me.”
Like the many times she made me do so, on different things, I promised. I never really understood, though—why she would lose herself. Then one day I found her staring outside the window of her hospital room. She whispered to me, “I wish this would all just end.” That was the day I finally realized what she meant.