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Joe was in a state of deep sleep, snoring softly to the light breeze that hit his bare arm. He was so carefree in those moments just before he wakes up and the truth finally reveals his bitter reality. Didn’t quite realize the fate he would have to face when he opens those heavy eyelids that seem to pull his soul back to slumber…
“Wake up sleepy head,” said a soft feminine voice by the restroom door.
A small smirk crept from his lips and a sudden surge of energy erupted in his spirit. Only something this wonderful could wake his waning heart.
“What are you doing so far away?” he pouted.
“I was washing my face,” she said, patting her face dry with a small cloth. “Are you taking care of the baby?”
“Yes sweetheart,” he said pointing to the cradle next to the bed. “See, Ariel. She’s just fine.”
“Good,” she smiled.
She slowly crawled back onto the bed and gave him a small kiss, before jumping on top of him and cuddling close.
“Mm, what are you doing today?” she asked gently.
“Uh…”Joe thought. “How about I stay here in bed with you and the baby?”
“Lazy boy,” Ariel laughed.
She poked at his nose and he winced, pulling his head back. Ah there it was, he thought. That soft finger touching his nose, from that same hand he loved to kiss. And beyond that finger and that hand was the face of his dear girlfriend; the magnificent beauty that he had no words to describe. If you asked him to spell out his love for her, you’d end up with a list a nonsensical gibberish that could wrap the world five times and then some. He never thought he could meet any woman he could love so much, but heaven was indeed heaven and decided to grant him the perfect woman.
“Can I have another kiss?” she asked sweetly.
“Sure,” he gladly reciprocated.
Her smile…oh her smile; the reincarnation of Eden drawn on a pale palette. The only thing that could save his dying heart from misery would be one look at her gorgeous smile. And now there were two in his life: one from his soon to be wife, one from his baby girl. He went under the covers and held her waist while digging his face onto her stomach.
“Well I haven’t been here in a while,” he chuckled and gave it a soft kiss.
“Hey!” she laughed. “I didn’t mean there.”
He snuck back up from the covers and saw her biting her bottom lip in anticipation.
“Well?” she pouted. “Where’s my kiss?”
“You know how perfect you are?” he smiled.
“Yes, I do,” she said nodded before laughing hysterically.
“I love everything about you,” he whispered.
“Hmmm,” she giggled back.
“Never leave me,” he said seriously.
“I’ll never leave you,” she replied.
Joe pulled her closer from under the sheets and finally gave her the kiss.
“Then can I keep you forever?” he asked softly.
“I’d have to think about it,” she laughed.
“Oh I see how it is,” he chuckled. “You’re already thinking about other men.”
“No,” she giggled. “But seeing how chubby I am…”
“You’re not chubby, you’re amazing,” he smiled.
Her face flushed red at his honesty.
“You always say things like that,” she shyly said drawing the covers over her face.
“Because I mean them,” he whispered as he pulled them back down.
Suddenly a harsh knock on the door caught them by surprise.
“Joe?” said a familiar voice. “It’s your mother. Are you awake?”
“Oh no,” Ariel shyly winced. “She’s back…”
“You promised not to leave,” Joe sternly replied.
Tapping her finger lightly on his nose, she says, “I’ll only be gone for just a bit.”
“Joe?” The knock resumes.
“You promised you wouldn’t leave,” his voice quietly broke, quivering like a frail child.
“…just for a little while…” Ariel hummed while brushing his hair back.
“Don’t leave…” he whispers into her neck.
The knock became more persistent until finally his mother turned the knob only to see a dark and secluded room with a man huddled in the dark corner all by himself. No where near the wide and idle bed, Joe closes his eyes tight from the disturbing bright hallway light. He was evidently crying and hardly made a move other than the soft contractions of his chest.
“Are you ready to leave the room today, sweetie?” she asked.
He didn’t make a noise and kept his arms wrapped around his legs with his head down on his knees. Every time his unstable heart pounded callously, his goose bumps would shiver in the dark shadows.
“…no,” he barely uttered.
Slowly the door closes behind his mother and he is back to his seclusion, shrouded in darkness and pain. It didn’t matter how many hallucinations he had about her. She was gone. Just like that; her fingers, her hand, that wonderful smile and the way he felt when he saw her-all gone. It was killing him. After all this time searching and scouring for her and being left with nothing more than a shrug or an apology, Joe was still alone; only with the presence of his hollow chest. His perfect woman was taken away from him faster than anything could prepare him for. Now he gets it. Heaven was indeed a faulty mirage; giving him his angel only to kill him by taking her away.
What was the point of all this? Loving a dead woman was debilitating; it was as if destiny was wasting his time. Within seconds he had lost his entire world; almost like he missed his chance at true fortune.
“It’s all my fault…”
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