A short story based on the image shown
from a prompt from Writers Unite! – November 2019
A short story by Lynn Miclea
Brooke sat at his bedside holding his cool, frail hand. After months of a rapidly moving cancer ravaging his body, he was losing his fight. She knew he didn’t have much time left.
“Matt,” she said softly. “I’m here for you. I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” She wiped a tear away. “And I need to tell you something before you go.” She cleared her throat. “I know we’ve been friends for a long time. Good friends.” She paused and blew her nose. “I need to let you know that I am in love with you. I fell in love with you a while back. For a long time now, I’ve wished we could be more than friends.”
She lifted his hand to her lips and gently kissed it. “I wish I had the courage to have told you sooner, but I was afraid to ruin our friendship and possibly lose you as a friend. I loved our friendship and couldn’t bear to lose that.” She held his hand against her cheek. “And now saying good-bye to you is so painful. I’ve always dreamed of what might have been between us. I wish I had spoken up long ago. But I’m so glad you’ve been my friend.” A sob broke from her and she stopped speaking for a few minutes.
When she started talking again, her voice was barely above a whisper. “Matt, just know that I love you with all my heart. I can’t let you go without you knowing that.” She leaned forward and gently kissed his soft lips.
Matt turned his head and gazed at her. He blinked a few times, and his lips curled up into a small smile. He squeezed her hand. Then his eyes fluttered, he inhaled, and he breathed out his last breath.
Brooke sobbed the whole way home. She was glad she finally told him how she felt. She wished it could have been different, but her conscience was clear. He at least knew she loved him.
One month later, as gray clouds filled the sky and a light rain seemed never ending, her doorbell rang. A young man in a uniform had a large delivery for her. She signed the papers and brought in the large box. What was this?
Unwrapping it, she found a wooden trunk. A letter from an attorney was taped to the top of it explaining that as part of Matt’s will, he had given her this trunk. Her eyes stung with tears as she slowly lifted the cover. The only thing in it was an envelope at the bottom. Her hands trembling, she reached in and pulled out the envelope. She smelled it, and the familiar scent of him washed over her. She held the envelope to her lips for a full minute before opening it. Inside was a letter, dated three months earlier, and she instantly recognized his scrawl.
My Dearest Brooke,
Now that I have cancer and it seems to be moving rapidly and winning, I know I will be dying soon. I’m sorry to leave you, but before I go, I have a confession to make.
I have fallen in love with you. I wanted to tell you so many times and I came close a few times. But I chickened out, as I was afraid you did not feel the same way. And I could not risk losing our friendship, as it meant so much to me.
But you deserve to know the truth. I love you, Brooke. I have wanted to propose to you many times, but I didn’t. You always talked about wishing you could find the right guy, and I wanted so many times to tell you — here I am. But I was too scared to say it out loud. But now I can tell you — I love you and I wanted to marry you.
As my last gift to you, I want to make sure you know that I love and cherish you. And this chest is filled with all my love and dreams and best wishes for you. There is not a chest large enough to hold all of it, but this will have to do.
I love you, Brooke, more than you could ever know. My heart is always full when you’re near me, and I long for you any time we’re apart. You have been the best part of my life.
Please have a good life. And I hope you finally find the guy of your dreams. I just wish it could have been me.
Brooke crumpled to the floor, sobs wracking her body. She held the letter to her heart. “Matt,” she whispered, choked with tears. “I love you too.” Her sobs filled the room until she was too exhausted to cry.
She slowly sat up and inhaled the air from the chest. “Thank you, Matt. You will always be the one for me.”
Copyright © 2019 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.
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