A Day To Die For
by Anton Wills-Eve
My own little Sally was looking thinner and weaker each day. It seemed almost impossible to believe that in a matter of months, maybe weeks or even after tomorrow, I’d never see her again. Well not in this life anyway. And she was fighting her cancer with such determination. Determination not to upset me by letting me see how much pain she was really in. Then an incredible thing happened. I still cannot quite believe it. But it happened all the same. I was offered as much money as I wanted to give her a day we’d both never forget.
Imagine how I felt. I could plan a really super day for her, and to see her as happy as she could be would be the greatest luxury I could buy. But what do you lay on for a bed-ridden, pain-racked girl of just twenty nine summers who could not even keep her food down. I had only a few hours left, as well, to think up a magical twenty four hours for her. My mind drifted back over all the things we’d enjoyed so much in the ten years we’d known each other.
Her greatest love was classical music, especially piano music, and when looking through the main concerts on in London the next day I saw that one of her favourite pianists was playing Brahm’s first piano concerto at the Albert Hall. Now that really would have been the centre piece of a great day out for Sally. But it was a non-starter as I was thinking of it. It was such a shame because she loved good food too and I would have booked a table at our favourite restaurant which stayed open most nights until after midnight.
Imagine Sally sipping a delicate Marsala as an aperitif and smiling in that lovely, loving way of hers as I downed my Campari. It was odd how similar our taste’s were too. We’d start with a plate of oysters and wash them down with a white Burgundy, a Montrachet 2002. Then our joint favourite steak dish,tournedos Rossini with pommes frites and a mixture of fried mushrooms, tomatoes and chopped red cabbage. If we drank a 2007 Crozes-Hermitage with this we knew we’d be in gastronomic heaven. We were never gluttons and would just leave enough wine to accompany some really soft Camembert to finish. Naturally an Armagnac with a coffee would help us relax at the end of a wonderful day.
Are you wondering how we would have started the morning? I am not writing this in the wrong order or anything like that, just telling it like it came into my mind as I planned what I wished I could do.Sally always liked taking me with her when she went shopping so of course after a couple of croissants and coffee I thought we would quickly make our way to Oxford Street or Knightsbridge and let her spend as much as she liked on any clothes she wanted, but most importantly a really stunning outfit for the evening. I knew she would insist on me doing the same. I could just see my little love going spare as colours did not quite match, or ludicrously high price tags were about to be rejected and then the realisation she could have whatever she liked lighting up her face and garments way beyond her usual reach suddenly being added to her wardrobe.
Such an expedition would eat up the hours but I would enjoy decking her out in all the finery she wanted just as much as she would enjoy wearing it. The addition of a gourmet snack for lunch at Harrods, where I allowed us a bottle of champagne, Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle, which would sooth our palates and could never spoil our appetites for later that evening, would make a pleasant break around lunchtime. But she would force me to visit Hawes and Curtis to replenish my stock of shirts and ties and then a quick visit to Regent Street for a couple of jackets, pairs of slacks and suits as well as a complete new evening suit and bow tie for the concert.
This would all take up a lot of time, despite the numerous taxi rides, but we would just have time to relax with a cosy cuddle at the flat before getting dressed to go out.I sat pondering this lovely, impossible day. I even rang the ticket agent to find I could book a box for the concert, just one left. Oh Sally would have been on cloud nine. But no way could my wonderful day be arranged.
As usual that evening I took my supper up to her room and lay on the bed as she sipped a cup of soup and twice had to press her morphine injector on her wrist to conceal her agony. I freely admit that as I made sure she had had all her medication and I had tucked her up for the night, I could feel a tear running unstoppably down my cheek. I just looked at her as I got into bed and saw the clock was showing eleven fifty five. Our ‘never to be forgotten’ day would start in five minutes.
I turned to her and as I went to kiss her goodnight she raised a weak but silken arm up to my face and said, “Darling. Kiss me. Please. Like you used to. Her soft mouth on mine was filled with more love and tenderness than I had ever known. I put my arm round her shoulders to return her love and the clock in our hall struck midnight. As our beautiful day began my georgeous girl went limp in my arms and her beautiful face fell across mine as she took her last breath. She was dead.
I couldn’t let go of her, she meant too much to me. But I would like to thank my unknown benefactor for giving me that lovely, lovely day which I never actually had with a girl whom I will never see again until God reunites us in Heaven.
Oh, and dear unknown benefactor. Please give all that money to those in need. I no longer have any need of it at all.