“Bony or not, I can assure you that I could not be more content.”
“Hmm, you are too kind to a dying man.”
“No, I only tell the truth. You must sleep now. I fear that I am keeping you awake.”
“Not at all. Why waste time sleeping, when I do not have long left on this earth. Bonnie, please do not cry!”
“I cannot help it!” She sighed. Theodore stroked the back of her hand with his index finger. “Your Grace, it seems that each time we grow close, we are parted!”
“ That does not matter. You are here with me now. I wish I could see you.”
“You can my friend. Up here.” She tapped his forehead ever so slightly.
“Yes, that is true. It is strange, as time passes I am beginning to forget people’s faces.”
“Well, your Father’s is very much like your own. You have a very similar mouth and jaw line.”
“Yes, people often say that.”
“And you have his eyes, for they are kind.”
“Hmm, yes. But I have Mother’s cheekbones.”
“Who do you look most like Bonnie?”
“My Father, I think.”
Theodore nodded. “Hmm.”
“All this talk of families is exhausting you. Little Aggie is at the door, my I feel like I haven’t seen her in an age.”
“Hmm, she comes and goes as she pleases. Father and Mr Howard told me that she stayed on the room when you were not here.”
“Good little Agatha.”
“Quite often, she hides under the bed, I could hear her purring. I do not think she liked Mother.”
“Animals sense things that we can not.”
“I know precisely what you mean.
“You must sleep now, as you have been awake long enough your Grace.”
“Must you be so insistent? ” He sighed.
“I apologise. It is not my place to tell you what to do.”
“Might I have some water?”
“Yes, there is a fresh jug here. I shall help you.” Bonnie placed his arm underneath his neck, supporting his limp body. “I-I’m sorry, does that hurt?”
Theodore took a couple of feeble sips, hesitating before swallowing as Bonnie placed the glass back on the side.
“I thought I’d never see you again Bonnie, I have never felt such an aching as I did when you were gone. I cannot begin to explain the inner torture I endured. I shall never speak to that woman again. There is so little time.”
Bonnie squeezed his hand. “I think your Mother is deeply unhappy, I got in the way I suppose, me being here did not suit her. I shall say no more on the matter, as it is not my place to do so. It only upsets you.”
She gazed at his prominent cheekbones, his face deeply troubled.
“I am sorry to see that you suffered. I-I think…”
Theodore sighed. “What if there is no heaven?”
“Do not fret about such things your Grace. I strongly believe that there is one.”
“I wonder what it is like?”
“Well your Grace, I imagine that it is however you’d like it to be. Picture your favourite things and they shall be included in your own perfect world. It never rains, the sky is always blue and you shall never feel weary, or have to endure suffering again.”
“I should like that.”
“Per-perhaps you won’t die.”
“Bonnie, I can feel my illness.”
“Yes. I sense it dragging me down, deeper and deeper.”
Bonnie stroked his hair, sensing each silky strand beneath her fingertips.
“It feels soft does it not?”
“Yes, your Grace.”
“Mr Howard is a man of many talents, I have no idea what he washed it with but it has really made a difference. Bonnie?”
“Tell me another story about your family. I would love to meet them.”
“Of course. A story, hmmm. Oh goodness, there are so many to tell about Andrew was an unusual child to say the least. He was quite a handful for Mother and Father. There was the time when he decided to wear a basin of flour as a hat as he wore his Sunday best. Father said he looked like the abominable snowman.”
Theodore laughed, placing a hand upon his stomach as a fan.
“Sorry, I don’t want to cause you discomfort.”
“Tell me another.”
“I probably should not.”
“I request it Bonnie. I mean, if you please.”
“Ah. Very well then. I have a question.”
“What was your first impression of me, your Grace?”
“Forgive me, I am not like I was. I was such a stupid fool, so wrapped in my own pathetic self. All I could think was; why am I being punished?”
“Well, that is very understandable your Grace. Losing your sight must be very serious, something which I cannot even imagine. Despite everything you did not give up, and for that you should be proud.”
“Proud? No, not I. For-forgive me, I must close my eyes, for despite being blind, they feel so heavy.”
“I’ll stay for a while longer.”
“It is silly.”
“Please say it, your Grace.”
“Would you- sometimes I feel a little scared when I am alone at night, would you hold my hand for a while?”
“Of course. I’ll hold it in mine until you fall asleep.”
“Your hands are so warm.”
Bonnie enclosed his hand in both of hers and blew on it gently, running it between her palms. She stopped, resting her arm on the side of his bed, stroking the back of his hand with her thumb.
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014