Author's Note: I've kinda been on a writing short-story hiatus. This is actually the first short story I've written in a year. I'm predicting it will have three or four parts. Review, please!
this goes out to CAM. rip.
The Last Affair of Niko and Evie
Evie had not taken the news lightly. She sat in the waiting room of the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Chicago, holding her face in her hands. Niko had his hand on her back, but stared off into the distance, a look of shock pasted on his face.
The crying continued for several minutes, progressing from weeping to sobbing then weeping again. She looked up into the face of her husband, trying to read into his facial expressions. The shock had started to mix with anger, fear, determination. The determination muddled Evie. What can he be determined about, she wondered. She had Level IV skin cancer, incurable. Three days, the doctor had said, three days and the tumors would be more than tumors. They would infect her bones, her brain, travel throughout her body in the unique way cancer could. It had already gone to her lymph nodes, but hadn't spread from there.
If she was forty-five, she might have had surgery. But at eighty, she didn't want doctors cutting up her worn skin. She had dealt with enough shots, casts, and tests to last a lifetime. The doctors didn't know that though.
She stood up, grabbing Niko's hand. "I have an idea."
It was a long, cold, and windy walk to the car. She shivered in her puffy coat, and didn't stop until heat blasted through the car.
"What is it?" asked Niko.
"Let's go home."
The combination of traffic, wind, and Niko driving doubled the time it took to get home. But Evie didn't mind. With only three days of freedom left, she wasn't going to spoil it and complain. Jazz played softly, piano intermingling with guitar, trumpets, and saxophones. She sat back in her seat, absorbing the music and working out the kinks of her idea.
Niko held the steering wheel with both hands and went fifteen mph below the speed limit. Other drivers honked at him as they passed, but he just shook his head.
"Its funny, isn't it?" Evie realized.
"As we… age, we get colder, and drive slower."
"But warmer in heart." Niko risked a quick glance at Evie to give her a smile, which she returned.
"Well, that depends on the person," she replied.
"That's true. But the only reason a person could be bitter is because they haven't met you."
Evie's eyes filled with tears, spilling down her cheeks. "Niko," she said, wiping her eyes, "why do you have to say things like that?"
Niko pulled into the side street, parking the car. "What do you mean?"
"You're not making this any easier. We've been together sixty years, and now we've got three days. And no one knows what's happening after that." The words were spilling from her mouth; she had to get them out. "don't make this any harder than it has to be." She opened the car door and slammed it with all her might, shuffling towards the door. "I don't want to leave you Niko. Or Carly or Jonathan or little Bobby. I may be old, and dying, but I'd rather be here with you than gone and without."
Niko had come up to her by then, putting his hands on her shoulders. He looked her square in the eye, saying "Don't ever, ever think you're going through this alone."
Evie saw the power of his words, and his eyes twinkled, showing a glimmer of the man she had married six decades ago. For the second time that hour, she burst into sobs.
Evie looked in the mirror, carefully studying her reflection. Her blue eyes were heavy set in her face, surrounded by blue-black bags and crinkles, not wrinkles. Her pores lay obviously huge upon her face. Her ears, sagged from years of wearing earrings, stood out from her thin, white hair.
She glanced again at the mirror, and then saw the picture prominently placed on her dresser. It was Evie and Niko's wedding day: June 19, 1947. it was one of the few days she could recall perfectly over the years. I was so happy that day, she reminisced. No wonder- her hair was long and chestnut brown, she had no wrinkles on her face, and she still had her figure. And Niko! With his black curls, brown eyes, and the most charming smile Evie had ever laid eyes upon. Luckily, age hadn't ruined one thing over the years. This picture was placed forefront among the others-baby pictures of Carly and Jonathan, Carly and Jonathan's high school graduations, Carly on her wedding day, Jonathan at his, Bobby as a baby, Bobby now…it continued throughout the room.
She heard tapping, perpetual, upon wood. She looked down. Her hand was moving out of control, almost like playing a piano on the dresser. She sighed. The cancer was coming, invading her head. "Niko!" she called. "Have you found it yet?"
"Yeah! I'm coming." He hobbled into the room, carrying a yellowed, slightly ripped piece of paper.
She looked at what had yet to be crossed out: Australia, Brazil, Anarctica. "Niko, we don't have time."
Suddenly, Evie had an idea. She walked out of the room, to Niko's old office. A map of the United States was thumbtacked to the wall. She stood in front of it, placing her finger on Chicago, Illinois. Niko's footsteps were gradually getting louder.
Evie closed her eyes, waved her finger around, and placed it back down on the map. She opened her eyes, slowly removing her finger. Fort Lauderdale, it read beneath.
"So," Niko said with a slight twinkle in his eye, "where are we gong?"
"Fort Lauderdale, Florida."