“Very nice, Madam 15)Morbid. No, I could really go for some of those beef noodles from Shanghai Charlie's. You know, the ones that are so tasty—how did you describe them? Something about 16)pores.”
“Every noodley注 pore is 17)impregnated with tasty 18)teriyaki deliciousness.”
His snort of laughter turned into a painful cough. “Yeah, that's it. You have talent.”
“Being able to 19)spout a ridiculous 20)tagline for a menu item doesn't mean I have talent,” she replied.
She didn't want to leave him, but he was insistent that he wanted to eat. He hadn't had an 21)appetite in so long, she finally 22)relented.
When she got back to the hospital, it was too late. A nurse cleaned the food off the floor, where the teriyaki 23)seeped across the 24)tile in a scene of noodle 25)carnage.
She held his hand, dry-eyed. She kissed him good-bye, dry-eyed. She signed where they told her to sign. She called the family. She packed up his things. Dry-eyed.
It was hot outside. 26)Muggy. 27)Stifling. Humid. The 28)cicadas 29)shrieked. She climbed in the car, put her head on the steering wheel, and sobbed for half an hour. Finally she stopped because her 30)hiccups were so bad she couldn't breathe. Who was she without him? She had always followed him across the country and across the world. Who was she now? What was she? Where was home? What was she supposed to do?
A new word was pounding through her head now, in rhythm with her feet. Re-mem-ber, re-mem-ber, re-mem-ber.
His last words caught at her as she was nearly out the door to grab his noodley teriyaki deliciousness.
“Hey,” he said. “Remember—remember that all the best moments in life rarely happen when you're alone. Don't be alone, Madam Morbid.”
She was gasping now, pounding the treadmill hard, gracelessly, awkwardly. Two steps from falling right off the back.
Re-mem-ber, re-mem-ber, re-mem-ber.