The challenge was to write a story, in any genre, using the first line, “Hope is the worst of all evils”. This was my entry:
Hope is the worst of all evils, for it prolongs the torment of all men. Sadly hope was all that he had left.
George remained by her side as he had done every day for the entire two months of her being there. He cradled her frail hand within his own,
“You always did have a delicate touch” he said jokingly hoping to see a smile grace the lips of his beloved. “Would you like me to brush your hair?” he asked giving her hand a gentle squeeze. There was no reply, there never was.
He remembered the first time she had allowed him to hold her hand. They must have been about eight years old, walking home from school when he asked her,
“May I hold your hand?” he asked bold as brass.
“You may, if you want to.” she replied without even looking at him, and so he did. He felt like the cat that was given the cream and when the time came to let her go, he ran the rest of the way home with a beaming glow. The memory brought both a tear to his eye and smile to his face.
George looked at his soul mate, the vacant stare emanating from her beautiful hazel brown eyes and wondered if there was indeed his one true love behind that gaze. Though their seventy odd years had taken its toll on both their bodies, she was still to him the most attractive woman in the world. His love had never once faltered; although now it felt like his very soul was being crushed by the fact she didn’t seem to recognise him.
He stood and took hold of the hairbrush that lay on the bedside cabinet, next to a framed photo of the two of them on their wedding day. If that was indeed the happiest day of his life, then these past two months were some of the saddest. Continuing, he sat his beloved up and perched himself on the edge of the bed behind her.
Slowly he ran the brush through her long silvery gray hair and whispered to her comforting words as he did so. Until she arrived here, George had never brushed her hair before, but now he couldn’t imagine not doing it. For him it had become his way of connecting with his wife beyond just holding hands.
Unfortunately this was a bit of a lottery, because although most of the time she allowed him to be that close, sometimes like today she did not. She began lashing out with her fragile arms and screaming as loud as her voice would allow,
“Get away from me! Who are you?”
George knew it would be futile trying to explain and so removed himself from the bed. He waited for the inevitable rush of nurses who would have been alerted by his wife’s distress. Quietly he sunk into the chair in which he was once sat and cupped his head in his hands allowing the tears to flow unseen.
His wife continued to scream and flail around until the effects of the sedative took hold. Once they had, she would be asleep for a few hours and be safe from endangering herself. He sat closely by the side of the bed and held her hand within his.
“I am here my love” he said reassuringly, taking another look at the photo beside the bed. “Just as I promised you I would, till death do us part.”