The Last Glass
by Hilary Robertshaw
“I’m not sure I can go through with it,” I say, my eyes searching her face for some courage.
Her grip tightens on my fingers. “Simon, please.”
“I’m going to miss you. I adore you, you must understand that.” I lift her hand to my lips. We both know how hard it had been to make this decision. We talked it round and round until we were beyond exhaustion.
“You said you understood. I can’t be like this anymore,” she says quietly.
She caresses my cheek and a picture of her, in times before the illness changed her, fills my mind.
“I love you, Simon, but it’s time.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Be strong, my love.”
And there are no more words.
I slowly reach out and lift the glass from the table. The sunlight shines through it making the liquid sparkle. Nembutal with blackcurrant cordial, it looks like red wine. She takes the straw between her pale lips and drinks, closing her eyes in concentration.
I want to pull the glass away, to drive time back to before all this. I’m crumbling watching her but she shows no fear.
The glass is back on the table.
Gathering her into my arms, she feels so fragile. Her breath is warm against my neck. I’m trembling, trying not to cry. I kiss her forehead, stroke her face and whisper the words I’ve said many times before.
“I’ll hold you to sleep, my love.”