With her beloved husband, Mark, terminally ill and under the care of the hospice, Sally struggles to maintain a normal life for their three children. Her days are spent working long hours to keep the roof over their heads and protecting them from the awful truth of just how ill their father really is. Opportunities to visit Mark are few and far between, coming only when time and money allow, making every one a moment to be savored.
On her latest visit, Sally is alarmed to see just how much Mark has deteriorated and vows to make the most of the time they have left. But, when the doctors tell her of a new miracle drug that will slow the progression of his illness, her hope is rekindled. Can love be stronger than medicine? A short story from our Candlelight literary romance line.
Sally’s mood had been improving all week as she looked forward to their date. She’d booked Friday afternoon off work, ensuring she had as much time with Mark as possible. The childminder was picking the children up from school and giving them tea as well. Since she’d already used up all her annual leave, both arrangements were an additional strain on her finances, but very much worth it.
In her bedroom, she pulled out her new shoes, well, new for her; beige peep-toes, with kitten heels; a delightful, unexpected find in a local charity shop. Barely worn, she knew they’d be a perfect complement to so many of her outfits, and a snip at just £2.50. She hoped Mark would notice them, but it was unlikely; he didn’t seem to notice much these days.
In her wardrobe, her slender fingers tripped over the hangers as she looked for the perfect outfit, finally deciding on a powder pink skirt suit with cream blouse; smart and feminine.
The brush slid smoothly through her thick brown hair. With him in mind, she’d used a luxurious conditioner in her shower that morning, left over from the work’s Secret Santa gift, and it had given her curls an extra lustre. She smiled to herself, humming his favourite song while applying a little powder, but not too much, Mark preferred the natural look. She admired herself in the full-length mirror. Perfect.
* * *
On the drive over she thought about the last time she’d seen him. His radiant smile as she walked in the room. How, always a gentlemen, he’d made to stand as she went to sit down across the table from him.
The hours flew when she was with Mark, but then, time was always the enemy where he was concerned. Too much time passed between their meetings, because life and things like not having enough money always got in the way.
Her 9-5 job in a call centre, with three out of four obligatory Saturdays was mindless work, but there was so much going on in her life that the mundane routine was appealing. It didn’t exactly pay well and her wages were soon gobbled up with the cost of after-school childcare and the hobbies and interests of three active children. When Mark had been at home such problems were nonexistent. He’d had a good job, but now every coin was wrung from her purse and every hour of the day was milked dry.