Within the breath of the hospital door click, he was both alive and dead. A Schrodinger’s situation. He insisted on the glass of water and I had not wanted to go. But I did. He didn’t like me seeing him in that state–which seemed so unlike everyone’s perception of him, he was not the regular vain sort of actor one would think of. Or at least I never saw him that way.
“Isn’t that…?” a nurse whispered near me as I went to the fountain, she didn’t see me, because they never see me. I saw her colleague indicate something hidden. I knew it was some sort of floor roster.
“It is. And it’s not looking good.” The other nurse answered. Numbly it started to dawn on me what was happening. Not that I hadn’t before…but it was slowly becoming real. And then I found myself just sitting in the waiting room, staring out the closest window, the ammonia smell undiscriminating.
It had been fifteen years since we met and twelve since our scandalous marriage. I was twenty-one during our nuptials, and he was forty-one. Now he was fifty-three, which didn’t seem much older–but I was thirty-three and I had lived lifetimes.
I remember when we met as clearly as breakfast. Nothing so scandalous – my aunt’s wedding. It was so fancy, at an old NYC hotel-–I always say it was in Chelsea, but he insists it was Midtown. He was staying there for a film premiere and press conference. It was the Sinatra biopic–you know the one. He played Peter Lawford–even with his Northern English accent. He crashed the wedding, with most of my family not knowing who he was–but having been obsessed with BBC America, I knew immediately, since his hour-long police drama was all the rage in the UK. He spoke with such sensitivity, an enigma that truly speaks to an eighteen-year-old, just the two of us in the hallway outside the ballroom. Then he invited me to dance. I still remember the song–“We Have All the Time in the World” by Louis Armstrong. He said it was from On His Majesty’s Secret Service, the James Bond film. It’s the only James Bond film where he gets married, you know. My romantic late-teenage heart exploded. Could I really be in love with this man, and not Danny Meyers from third period Chemistry?
When my parents beckoned me back so we could return to our hotel downtown, he gave me his email address so we could keep in touch while I was in college. And well, that whole story became a romantic comedy his friend starred in–the one that played Dean Martin in the biopic. So, let’s not mention it.
He was up for the role of James Bond, not many people know that. He didn’t get it though, obviously. Instead, he was hired for that other franchise, the fantasy one with dragons, playing the brooding-antagonist-mentor-type–because he’s British. And suddenly he was a household name–some even said sex symbol, which he hated tremendously, considering his character was nothing like him at all.
I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye, and I think one of the cameras out in the parking lot saw me. It was silly to use a flash so far away, what an amateur. He always knew how to keep the cameras off me, didn’t want any of those female fans to do something weird and crazy if they saw me alone in public. We had a close call when someone broke into our house three summers ago. Not that we didn’t have our troubles. Between handsy co-stars and a couple miscarriages, the last three years since that incident had been bliss. It seemed too easy to sum up our relationship so quickly. Was that all there was in fifteen years?
Finally, I figured I should get that cup of water, somehow knowing he’d be gone, but still wanting to do my wifely duty. The plastic cup was frail in my hands as I looked up to the TV playing in the waiting room. The trailer for the latest one of those dragon movies was on, and he figured prominently in it-–a new cut I supposed. Turning I saw the nurse headed to me, as the security guard took his cap off outside the room. We have all the time in the world. All noise in the room became distant, and I could hear the strums of the guitar start to play over the waiting room radio. Time enough for life to unfold all the precious things love has in store. This as the explosions from the TV battled to be heard. We have all the love in the world. Me, my world was just crumbling around me, like the explosions from the trailer. If that’s all we have you will find, we need nothing more. For he was no longer mine, he now belonged to pop culture.
“Miss?” The nurse asked, concerned with my stone-like stance. Every step of the way, will find us.
“Missus, actually.” I wasn’t sure if I was going to drop the cup or crush it. Either way, the water was going to spill. With the cares of the world far behind us.
“Excuse me, Missus. You should probably come with me.”
We have all the time in the world. “Right.” Just for love. “Of course.” Nothing more, nothing less only love.
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