He had to make sure that he was going to see her before he died. He went out the door and got into his car.
He was about to start it up when he realised that he was missing something. Where was the seminar, anyway? Groaning at his stupidity, Ian went back in the house and scanned the note from his wife again. It didn't say her whereabouts.
Digging into his pocket, he produced a smart black phone which he quickly typed 'Joan' into. It came up with four different Joans, but he knew which one he wanted. He put it to his ear and waited. It rang for a few minutes, then stopped. Ian rang her again. This was a matter of life and death. This time, someone picked it up.
"Yes, it's me," Ian said.
"What's so urgent that you have to call me in the middle of a seminar? You got the note, didn't you? Or did you not make it home yet?" There was a tint of anxiety to her voice, and Ian tried to put on a cheerful tone.
"Yeah, I made it home and got your note."
"So what is it? Oh, the doctor's appointment! How did it go?"
"It's bad. Really bad." Ian didn't know what else to say. He didn't want to tell her just yet.
"How bad, darling?"
Ian took a deep breath. "I'm going to die in 9 hours." He bit his lip and waited for the reaction. Outside the window a bird fluttered into the air, free to live its life as it chose. Then Ian realised that he could do anything now, because he was going to die anyway.
"Oh, dear!" his wife's voice said through the phone. She was sounding rather distressed, so Ian tried to calm her down.
"I'm going to spend it wisely, that's for sure. With you."
There was silence for a while, then muffled sobbing. "I can't believe it," she managed to whisper between sobs. "Only 9 hours left of your life..."
"It will turn out fine, I promise. You'll just have to ... let go easily," Ian said, his voice choking up at the last few words. He found tears rising to his eyes, too, and didn't do anything to brush them away.
"Honey, I..." his wife broke down again, sobbing loudly and not bothering to cover it up now. Ian found the first tear falling out of his eye and splashing onto his cheek. His hand reached up for it, wiping away the salty water and feeling it burn his skin as he did.
They stayed like that for a while, his wife sobbing and Ian crying silent tears. Finally, Ian managed to get out a few words. "I'll miss you when I ... when I go."
This just brought on a fresh bout of sobbing from his wife. "Don't go."
"I am. I have to. Everyone has their time. But right now, I'm going too. Towards you."