By Roos van der Velden
She gave me a note with ‘I love you’ and my name on it. It was the first time she had done something like that.
She used to speak with her body. A nod when she approved, two when she liked something, three when she was excited. Head-shaking when she disagreed and a frown to show disappointment; a smile when she was sarcastic.
What I mean is that words were rare. She used them when necessary or important, like her name when I first met her, or her soft but undoubted ‘I do.’
She almost never used my name, either. Not even when she came to me one night, long ago, with her hand over her lower stomach, when I hugged her and promised her I love her forever and that I would take care of her until the end.
Her hand is on her stomach again now, not unlike the way it was that night. There are letters to the children on her nightstand, several sheets for each of them, pleading that they do well and live happy. They are almost too perfect, as if she wrote and rewrote them long before tonight. As if her last words to them had to be the most carefully picked words in her life.
There’s only a torn-off note with four words in sloppy ink for me. She wrote ‘I love you’ on it, and my name.
I place a kiss on her forehead, which has already grown cold. No, she never said much. Which must have been why she saved her most precious words for last.
Roos van der Velden is a nineteen-year-old writer, student and part-time-waitress residing in the Netherlands. She thinks there should be more stories about genuine love and will get to writing those (after the midterms are over, presumably). Besides that, and most of all, she is very excited to see her work published across the ocean.