This is my rough draft completely unedited. For a full explanation go to Part I.

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Today – Part XII – Rough Draft

Kael knew that he only had today with Willow but that didn’t leave him worrying about doing the right things. He knew the only thing that he wanted was to be close to Willow. Going to the park, and eating were how he spent the first half of the last day with Willow. He didn’t see that as a waste at all. In fact he would want to avoid anything that could make time pass too quickly. If he could just sit in an empty room with Willow forever he would do so. This would have to do. Willow sat down opposite him at the little ritzy cafe they had found for lunch. Kael couldn’t keep his eyes off of her. He was so blessed to be with this woman.

Kael biggest concern of this whole thing is that Willow wouldn’t be Willow to him. He knew Jim said his mind would construct Willow just as he remembered her, but even still he worried that she wouldn’t have all the little details. Along with this Kael had to push down the knowing that this was not the real Willow. This was just a figment of his imagination. A really good one, but still wherever Willow was she was not just inside Kael’s head.

“What?” A grinned popped onto Willow’s face as she asked the question.

“What, What?” Kael responded not being able to keep the grin off of his own face.

“You were just, like staring at me so hard, I thought surely I would catch on fire soon.”

“You’re just so beautiful I can’t help it.” Kael meant that more than she could ever know.

“Stop.” She averted her eyes a little bit. “Thank you.”

“Thank you.” Kael said back feeling a little bit weird about he formality. It was heartfelt though. It was like his thanks for being with him as long as she had. For blessing his life with her presence.

The rest of the day was perfect but no matter how often Kael looked at his clock did the time stop. It move way too fast for his liking. Each step they took seemed to cost him five minutes. Finally when Willow asked why he was looking at his watch so much he took the thing off and threw it in the nearest trashcan he could find.

The walked the downtown, they stopped in shops, they did this, and they did that. All of that was so completely unimportant to Kael. What was important was being with Willow. If she wanted to walk through a manure patch, just to see what it felt like Kael would be by her side.

The only difficulty he had was being able to look ahead as he walked. He was going to get a crick in his neck from constantly trying to stare at Willow. She noticed, and even with all the years that they had been together she would act bashful as he stared at her.

Before the day had even begun it was night. 10:00pm came as Willow and Kael made their way back to the hotel room. They sat in that room curled up together on the bed talking. They had so much to talk about. Not once today had they found they were out of words to say to each other. The one subject they didn’t talk about was the life without Willow. They both were putting on a charade that she had been there forever. They also didn’t talk about the fact that this again was their final hours together.

“We miss you.” Kael finally said “The kids don’t remember you well but they wish you were with us too.”

Silence.

“I’m sorry.” Came a choked sob from Willow.

“No, no please. That’s not why I said that.” Kael immediately regretted saying anything. “I just want you to know that I never forgot and I’ll never move on. Everybody keeps telling me that I need to just move on. How can I ever move on. What does that even mean? You were my forever. You are my everything Willow. I love you more than you can ever know.” By the time Kael finished tears were rolling down his eyes. He knew as he said these things that he was going to lose Willow again. He kept the thought from his mind all day but it was as if his mind knew that he had to cope with it eventually and was forcing him to think of it.

Silence.

“You have to.” Willow’s words were soft and said between spells of sobs.

“I have to what?”

“You have to move on. This is our last time. Truly I will never see you again in this life. You can’t hold onto me, I’ve moved on to something else. You have to as well.”

“No, I can’t. I can’t. I don’t want to. I don’t want you to go. Please stay this time. Stay with me, I don’t need anything else. I gave up everything and I would do it again and again. Please don’t leave me, please.” Sobs wracked through Kael and he knew most of what he said was repetitive gibberish, but he couldn’t stop himself.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Please this is my choice, but I want you to know that I love you and I regret no choices that we took. Please take care of the kiddos. Please live your life, you are still young and have a lot left to give to the world. Don’t waste it trying to bring me back from the dead.

Kael could only cry. Then the unthinkable happened. His world began to unravel. Willow lye curled in his arms on the bed with him. Before his very eyes she became insubstantial and as if she was made of sand began to blow away into nothingness.

“Nooo. No No No” Kael grasped and reached and tried to keep her with him. The utter uselessness and feebleness of his own body infuriated him. This was not it yet, it hadn’t been a full day. They should still have hours left. His fist slammed down on the bed bud the soft cushion of the mattress was unsatisfying. He turned and with tears streaming down his face he began to hit the headboard over and over with all of his strength. His fist bled and the head board crack. The pain wasn’t enough to make him forget. Then before he was ready the headboard began to disintegrate before him. The world went black.

Gasping with a tear streaked face Kael sat up quickly. He was back in the little room with Jim and couple of his helpers.

“No, I wasn’t done. No, you told me a full day that wasn’t a full day.” Kael was livid. He crawled rolled out of the bed the head set ripping free of his head. His fists were balled, but they were no longer bleeding and hurting. It wasn’t real his mind told him.

In that instant his fury turned to pure sorrow. He tried to stay angry, it was giving him his strength to stand, but the anger fled from him just like Willow had. His knees weakened and in that moment Jim was there.

His cool demeanor was gone he held Kael in a full bear hug. He supported him and just let Kael weep onto his shoulder. Kael was a bit taller than Jim and it left him hunkered over the man.

“I saw, she came back.” Kael couldn’t stop talking about it.

“I know, I’m sorry Kael. We did all we could do.” Jim said reassuringly. Those were the exact words the doctor had said to Kael when he arrived at the accident all those years ago.

It broke him. If it weren’t for Jim hold him he knew he would be on the floor. The weight returned to his shoulders that he felt that night. He thought surely Jim would be crushed by it as well. It left him unable to even lift and arm. It was like a blanket that weighed as much as the world was laid on his body. Jim held him just a bit longer then walked him back to the bed and sat him on the edge of it. Kael was eternally grateful for the compassion Jim showed. He never would’ve guessed the man was capable of such tenderness.

“I’m sorry that you feel this way. Everyone that does this has a similar reaction. I hope that someday you will forgive me and be thankful for this time.” Jim was very sincere.

“Nothing to forgive.” The energy was gone from Kael. He let a mask of apathy cover him. “You did just as you said. I’m sorry for how I acted.” Looking over he saw Jim’s helpers wiping their eyes to clear the tears.

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