Time comes for everyone, some are just a bit better prepared than others.
Time had come. It had been knocking about for a while now, as Time was want to do. She had tried to ignore it. Really, she had. Not to be rude, exactly. But rather the way someone who needs to tidy up a few things before guests arrive try to finish their cleaning before opening the door once someone arrives a bit earlier than was hoped for. It was the mental equivalent of calling out “Just a minute!” And hoping to soothe irritation.
She wasn’t sure how well it had worked, but while the knocking had become more insistent—Time hadn’t exactly knocked the door down. There were a few things she wanted to to get done before she opened the door, but she wouldn’t be ashamed to show her house off now. She’d gotten enough done. More could always be done—but it was respectable enough and she was proud of what she had managed.
Still, Time had come and it would no longer wait.
Gently she brushed her lips against her husband’s temple. He’d grieve tomorrow, as well he should. She had helped to build their life to be one that was filled with more smiles than tears and more laughter than yells. They had their bad times, but they loved each other. Hopefully she’d see him again and hopefully they’d be able to make even more good times then.
Bones creaked as she levered herself out of bed. It’d been years since she’d been able to rise without a symphony of snaps and cracks. She’d be happy enough to break from that. Even if she would miss this body. It was old and too-worn, but she had spent decades stamping her story on it. Scars and wrinkles told her tale and it was a very specific tale. One that was all her.
Quietly she padded to the kitchen, squinting as she moved. For years she was supposed to wear glasses, but she never could remember where she put them at night and Michael always had to find them for her. Her heart panged at that. When he saw them, it’d be a reminder of a habit no longer needed. “Poor luv.”
Still, that pain was worth it. She thought, at least. Loss was the price of love and they had loved well, so his loss would be large. At his age, she wasn’t sure he’d get over it, but she hoped he would. Life was short, grieve well but fast.
In the dim light of not-quite-dawn she put some coffee to brew, whipped a quick egg casserole up, and took her own cup of tea—mixed heavily with some whiskey;. It was bad for her liver and bad to mix it with her meds, she knew, but it was her last morning and she’d enjoy it how she damn well pleased.
The heady scent of cheese and eggs mixed with the warmth of coffee began to fill the house. Michael would wake up soon enough. Probably just in time to get the casserole out. Good, he’d at least be able to eat breakfast before grief took his appetite away. It wasn’t abnormal for her to wander out to the Garden for a bit to read in the morning. He wouldn’t bother her until after breakfast (he always said he was just waiting for her to come back in but the food smelled too good. After all these years, she knew his stomach was a bit stronger than his heart—least when things were going well.)
With a sigh she took her cup, a book (some romance novel that Michael had gotten her years ago that she read on the odd occasion. She hoped he’d know she was thinking of him this morning and that it would bring him some comfort) and creaked her way outside. Time was there, staring with those cool black eyes that ticked instead of blinked.
“Just a minute more, luv. Let me get settled and then you and I can go off. Don’t suppose you’ll give me a hint as to what I’ll be this time around, will ya?” As in the past, Time remained silent. She expected as much. It was rare she remembered them at all, but when she did—well, they weren’t the talkative type.
Gingerly she folded her old body onto the bench. She took a sip of her tea and opened the book to a largely random page. One that she had circled a quote on, years ago. Wasn’t intentional, but it made her smile none the less. Maybe Cupid was looking out for her Michael a bit. Good.
“Ok, Luv. I’m ready now. Thank you for waiting.” She closed her eyes and breathed her last in that body. Michael would find it later and he’d weep and call for help-but no help would be able to bring her back to that shell.
When she opened again, the world was too bright and her lungs too small. A slap on her (now his? Well, that’d be a change of pace) rear caused the air in those new pink lungs to squeal out of a mouth she’d have to get used to.