he was holding her hand when the world changed.
one moment she was laughing and he was admiring her generous spirit. her freedom.
and then it hit him.
something had changed.
this was not the same person.
this was not okay.
she was not okay.
and a hot electric wave crested within him.
a bitter taste and shortness of breath.
this last day.
this last week.
the brilliant sunshine after a month of rain.
it wasn’t real.
a part of him wished he could step into her head and ignore the rising panic.
but there was nowhere to hide.
and she turned and looked at him with a pure and unsheltered love in her eyes, and he knew.
he knew it without reservation.
within the next hour he would have to take her to the hospital.
he would have to give her away.
she had described it, but he had never seen it.
this promise of hope, the dazzling warmth, it was all just a brilliant fuse.
and he had to get her help before the fuse ran out.
and he is still holding her hand as he tugs her slightly south.
they can continue their walk.
but in a new direction.
no use mentioning his plan.
let her enjoy this feeling.
while he dissolves beside her
while he oozes down into the sidewalk cracks.
it’s not betrayal if it saves her life.
he’s trying hard to convince himself.
and he holds on a little tighter.
and he remembers to breathe again.