I pulled back the curtain and searched his body for life. The room, hazy with artificial light and iodine, seemed too small for such a moment. I wanted to kiss him, hard, as he lay in front of me with his eyes closed, motionless, and his chest, wrapped in stiff brown gauze, slowly rose and fell. Two tubes, attached to round, plastic containers, protruded from his sides, and they were already half full of watery blood. I stared at them, captivated by him slowly oozing out of himself.
At least he was alive. I waited almost seven hours to know that he was alive, and there he was, barely breathing, knocked out cold. It felt somewhat anticlimactic, but I tried to feel something besides relief in the dead space between us.
I wanted to feel the warmth of his living body against mine. There was hardly enough room for him on the bed, but I squeezed half of myself next to him. He didn’t stir. I hoped that my presence would wake him, but it didn’t.
I knew he would remember nothing tomorrow. I could’ve told him anything. I thought about the gravity of this. The love of my life, lifeless, not knowing I was even there, slouched over in a drugged stupor. I looked at him, at his chest, reminding myself that he was still the love of my life, and that he was, in fact, still alive. I couldn’t be close enough to his body. I wanted him.
I leaned forward, kissing his mouth hard, and he tasted like anesthesia. Anesthesia would be a pretty name if it meant something else. I wanted to name our daughter something pretty and delicate. Maybe she was born in this moment.
His head rose from the hard pillow, and his eyes, glazed and blood shot, struggled to see. I said nothing, afraid to hear pain in his voice.
“Baby,” he said, his voice thick and scratchy.
“I’m here,” I mumbled and I took his hand.
His eyes finally found mine, as he asked, “Will you marry me?”