The doorbell rang. She crawled out of the warm quilt, wound up her hair in a quick ponytail and felt the chill of the naked floor as her feet scrambled for slippers. Yawning and rubbing her eyes, she ambled towards the door and unbolted it. Outside, in a glass vase, secured by a silk ribbon, sat a bunch of red roses. She glanced at the date on the newspaper that lay beside: the 14th of February. But—had he preordered them? A mélange of emotions usurped her: confusion, suspicion, disbelief and then the one that dwarfed them all—grief.
Red was the scourge of her life; the crimson of the roses was exactly the same as the color of blood that gurgled out of his mouth and spattered on the bedroom floor on that cold, foggy night in January. Horrified but composed, she rushed him to the car and drove frantically to the hospital, with her hand on the horn continuously, and her feet pushing the accelerator to its limits.
Doctors with their masks, nurses in impeccable white, the air laden with smell of antiseptic, the gleaming floors all sped past her. Her eyes were fixed on his ashen face and his eyes that were spilling out life instead of conserving it. In the ICU, they strapped him to hundreds of monitors and IVs. The Adonis of her life lay entangled in tentacles of monstrous machines feeding on various parts of his body.
She watched stone-faced the rise and fall of monitors, her heart pleading to God and her mouth pleading to the erudite doctors. Someone, somewhere, just one miracle, just one blessing is all she asked for. Alas—God, man or machine did not hark and the monitors beeped flat. Oh, the cacophony and the hustle—more doctors, more nurses with another smorgasbord of equipment arrived. They pounded relentlessly on his heart, applied shocks and pressures but the monitors were still an obstinate, straight line. He coldly refused to wake from his slumber. Her mind told her heart that he had left her without a squeeze or a hug or the playful wink of his eye.
One glance at the red flowers peeled off the still-soft scabs from her wounds and they started oozing warm blood again. Undammed tears gushed out of her eyes and she shut the door tight on those flowers, buckling down on the floor, against the door.