Images of Christopher as he had been when lying in the snow, skin pale and blue, flashed in her mind like a photograph. He had looked like a corpse. No, she said to her son, he’ll be fine here. She asked him why he seemed to have a change of heart, and never received a response more definitive than, “He’s not like some of the others I’ve met.”
He wrapped her in his arms, making her feel far more fragile than her five and a half feet normally allowed, and whispered he loved her. Again he told her to be careful, to remember that gun of his father’s and to call if she needed anything. With a Merry Christmas he disappeared into the cold, the tires of his police cruiser crushing the bit of ice still on the driveway. Pride was a warm thing in her chest as she thought of her son the policeman. To protect and serve, to risk himself for others, it was a career for martyrs and heroes and she knew him to be of the latter. It wasn’t selflessness that put him on the battle lines of the city but the strength and desire to do what he could to help, knowing he could.
With a small smile she could feel upon her lips, she shut the door gently and walked down the hallway. Christopher was at the fireplace holding the photo of her and her husband. She didn’t need to look at the photo to know her beloved was carrying signs of the disease that would take him from her; that he hadn’t the strength to get dressed in that tux and so demanded she help him; that it had been their last anniversary together- their thirtieth.
He turned to her, a quiet understanding in his gaze, and she gestured for him to sit as she gently took the photo from his fingers and clasped the gilded frame against her bosom. Sitting in the chair across from him she ran her fingers over the graying face in the photograph, and asked Christopher if he would like to hear her story. His only response was to touch her hand and ask if she wanted to tell him.
She took a deep breath and began.
Be sure to check back on Tuesday for more about Susan’s life!
If you’re just joining the story please check out the very first episode of the serial here.