A husband’s body and a lover’s heart spliced together by a scalpel blade. A tangled web of grief, guilt and deceit that can only lead to death or harm lie within this thought-provoking tale of post-transplant memory cells and man’s desire to play god whatever the human cost.
The unimpressive click of a padlock brought forth the lover’s kiss and peals of their laughter- these hung in the air before being swept out to sea by the chafing coastal breeze. The middle-aged couple posed and kissed with salty lips beside the ironic heart-shaped padlock etched with the couple’s newly married names and the date hanging from the bridge’s wire fence. You would be mistaken for thinking that today was an ordinary day, dressed both smart but plain. She wore a mauve dress suit with purple detail in sequins around the neckline and cuffs that reflected the flashes of the sun as they caught the dwindling light. He wore a tight, ill-fitting suit jacket of a mismatched colour to his trousers.
Only their playful affection gave a clue as to the day’s significance. After their thirty-year partnership, they legally joined their union alone in a registry office. Not one family or friend member was present, overseen by strangers as witnesses. They had not spent years saving or planning their marriage or vows. But to them, it did not signify their life starting together but could be the start of their life together ending and was tainted with this bitter-sweet cruelty. The only planning they had performed was to apply for the twenty-eight day+ notice period, for this union had to be legal. Everything depended on that—everything else they completed in a whole clandestine manner.
As he felt the room spin like he had in the bedroom at home, a different fear engulfed him as he made out snatches of the onlookers. He was gripped in terror as he watched the confused faces contort in horror and spin as his heart started racing faster and faster while a deep dark feeling of dread took hold. He felt pain tear across his chest and travel up to his jaw and arm. Rose caught the terrified look as he gasped and held his chest, crying out for answers. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion for Rose but so fast that she couldn’t help him as he plunged through a glass table. The smash was silent to her. She never heard anything until she screamed. She fell to her knees and never forgot how her tears sounded. The way she made him go to the party and her lifelong partner looked lying among the shards of glass.
Secrets and Lies Abridged
“What do you mean? You are worried about me?” Not only was he patronising her, but he was also criticising Victor and his treatment of her.
“Well, in the kindest possible way, you look tired from having to dote on him constantly; it can’t be doing you any good, both physically and mentally.” His phrasing appeared to be deliberately unkind and play into a woman’s insecurities. It made her feel vulnerable and shook her confidence. If she hadn’t thought that his words were valid, he would have told him that he could take the flowers back with him, preferably in a makeshift vase found on his anatomy. But she felt unarmed and exposed easy prey to his influence. He watched her twist and squirm in delight as she looked torn between Victor and freedom. All he had to do now was defame Victor in her eyes, and he would put the wedge he desired between them.
“I’m surprised Victor didn’t seem too keen on taking me up on my offer for you both to stay in London with me for a short break. Take in a few shows and the like.”
“He what?!” He now had the reaction he craved. It was all he could do to hide his smile.
“Did he not say anything? I asked him several times on the phone; he didn’t seem impressed. I thought it would help you see some friendly faces and go shopping. Take your mind off things as it were.” By now, Rose’s temper was at boiling point. Why would he prevent her a brief break? A few days of normality. Worse still, he hadn’t even mentioned it with her as if he feared she might wish to go. Without another word, Rose snatched her coat from the rack behind her. Seething, she muttered under her breath as she pushed past.
“Let’s go out then!” He was delighted at the effectiveness of his plan. As the chilled winter air caressed her face in the shade, the sun’s warmth was enough to create a perfect temperate winter day. She couldn’t help thinking that perhaps Ben was right, she had been too selfless, and it was taking its toll.
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