Her lover liked to hold her hand and she found it cute.
She liked cute. When she traded the perpetual frown for the goofy grin, really, she felt like she had boys all figured out:
Young men that frowned all the time, sucked. Those that smiled, not just at her, but, for example, at their moms, ruled.
This was a good rule. A girl could live with that rule. The rule went with cuteness like chocolate syrup went with ice cream.
She had no idea what the minister was saying. She vaguely remembered the words from the rehearsal.
Suddenly her hand was in his.
He turned to her and smiled.
You take my breath away, his eyes said.
“I am pushing!”
A tired smile.
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Okay, new plan. You push!”
He grabbed her sweaty hand.
“I’ve got you covered, Babe.”
Her daughter’s baton went up, up, and up, so high she was sure it was going to hit the gym ceiling.
It came crashing down, impossibly fast. She caught it, spun around, and did a split, just like that.
He turned to her, put his hand in hers, and gave her a little squeeze.
“That’s our girl,” he said through misty eyes.
“I don’t understand,” he said through labored breath, a breath as old as the world. “Why can’t I see?”
She touched his face tenderly. “It’s just time to rest,” she said.
“I am tired,” he admitted.
“You’ve been awake, a long, long time.”
“Thank you. For everything,” he whispered.
“I love you,” she said. She had to say it. She so wanted him to hold on to those three words. Just three words. Surely he could take those with him.
“I’m scared,” he said.
She grabbed his hand and held it in hers. Fingers weak but intertwined.
“My turn, now. I got you covered, Babe.”