Chrysanthemum

Written by Loverly Souris

o0o o0o o0o

Today is the anniversary of your death.

It was six years ago, yet it still hurts terribly.

The weather was bright and sunny, I remember. Just like today.

People don't die on days like this. Death is accompanied by rain. Thunder. Darkness and cold.

I step through the black wrought-iron gates clutching a bouquet of white chrysanthemums in my hands.

You don't like cut flowers. You've never liked them, but for some reason, you always wanted to have a vase of chrysanthemums on your bedside table during your last months. I had no idea why.

The flower of grief. Reminds me of gravestones and cemeteries, you would always say and laugh at my expression. You liked their scent though, it calmed you.

Sometimes, I wish I would have been ill instead of you. If only I would have been confined to bed for weeks.

If only I would have died, not you.

But then you would be the one who'd have to live through all this I am suffering from now. And I wouldn't be able to bear that, not even from the other world.

I know you are watching me from where you are. I can almost see the tears that are falling for me.

Don't cry. I'm alright.

Really.

I just miss you so much.

My head hurts. It hurts a lot nowadays. I even went to see a doctor because of it, but I've forgotten what he said.

And then, I see the stone that is you. I brush my hand across the cold marble, stroking it, cleaning it from the fallen leaves. I follow the inscription with the tip of my fingers. Your name. Your birthday. The day of your death. A star.

Loving husband, devoted father.

I would have preferred an other epigraph, something more original, but I couldn't come up with anything. I'm sorry.

If I were to write in this very moment, I would be able to write countless things about you.

You were… no, you still are the most important person in my life.

We completed each other, perfectly, like the tiny pieces of a mosaic.

Both of us turned into better men by helping each other. I owe you so much.

You are everywhere.

I see you in our adoptive children, the traces of your nursing and teaching in them. I see you in your old belongings, showing up in various places in the house where you left them. I see you in the platinum ring dangling on a silver chain around my neck. I see you next to me at night in the bed, as although I withdraw to my side from mere habit, I know that you'll never lie down beside me again. I see you when the loneliness is so painful that I'm starting to hallucinate someone embracing me.

I see you in the white chrysanthemums, too.

I throw the dried flowers out and replace them with fresh ones. I smell them. Their fragrance calms my heart as well.

A crow lets out a sharp caw somewhere behind me. The voice brings the autumn days back for a minute. The wind blows, and I shiver even though it's quite hot.

During the last few months, I've forgotten a lot of things. They just disappeared from my head, things like fetching Kitty from her piano lesson, or buying a present for Raven and Hank's wedding anniversary. Once I went to have a light walk and I got lost. I can feel you tap my head and you scold me for being so disorganised.

However, when it comes to you, I haven't forgotten anything, my love.

The moments I spent with you are not engraved upon my memory, but upon my soul. Nothing and no one can ever tear them away from me. I guard them in my heart, in a safe sanctuary somewhere between rage and serenity.

While you were ill, I cried too much. You didn't, but you have always been much stronger than me. I locked myself into my study and soaked one of the pillows on the sofa. I was alone most of the times, but once in a while it hurt so much that I had to hug one of the children and hold onto them tightly. Jean never asked anything. She just hugged me back.

I wanted to hide my tears from you, but you saw through me easily, as usual. Before you passed away, you asked me not to cry with a soft smile on your lips. From that day on, I haven't cried.

For a moment, I almost feel you touching me. My face.

Your hand is warm.

I remember what the doctor said.

Brain cancer. I think I only have two or three months left to live.

Next year I probably won't be able to come. By that time, I'll be sleeping beside you, like we used to.

Don't worry, Erik. I'm not scared at all.

After all, we are going to be together again.

The End

Sorry for starting the New Year with such a sad story. I promise I'll upload a bunch of light-hearted fics in the future – as soon as my university stops killing my brain cells.

For those who favourited and reviewed on my other X-Men fic – thank you again so much. :)

I'm curious about what you all think, so don't hesitate to share your opinion in the form of a review. :)