Christopher by Ross Common

Christopher by Ross Common

Love comes along sometimes by chance, sometimes by hard work, but always with perseverance. Many nights I spent longing to hold someone, to be held and feel wanted, needed. Those nights are over never to see the light of day again. I found my perfect fit, my glove, the missing piece that made my life complete. Without his companionship I would have felt vacuous—a shell of a man.

I wanted a permanent, life-long companion, and I would have done just about anything to obtain that caliber of stability. I needed that security desperately, and without reserve. The bars weren’t the answer, too many pertinacious, self-centered, materialistic bastards who knew nothing about what it meant to be advantageous—just collecting more notches on their belts, never realizing the true meaning of Christmas—but what surprised me then was finding my inamorato in a bar.

Christopher was a breath of fresh air, a cool morning breeze. His smile was captivating, intoxicating. One look at him and I knew he was different—the one.

***

It was karaoke night and the plebeians were all gregarious and half drunk. I noticed Christopher soon after I stepped into the overly smoke-filled pub. He brushed passed me with an immense smile and a terse apology. He was startling, not just his appearance, but his mannerisms. He walked like he knew the meaning of his own self worth—unselfish pride and love. So unadulterated was the way he walked over to a bar stool and sat down—tall and distinguished—I knew he would be mine forever. His dark blond hair hung softly to his shoulders without a part to interfere, jaw-line strong and square, masculinity flowing profusely, and without abandon. Eyes of the deepest sapphire, enticing. He looked noble, but not impertinent or arrogant, with just a hint of seductiveness.

After brushing off the snow from my overcoat, I removed and pocketed my gloves. How would I approach him? What would I say? I took out a mint, placed it on my tongue, inhaled deeply and felt the coolness relax me with a quiet whisper as I moved in for the kill.

***

That was sixty-three years ago today, and my love for Christopher has never abated. Most days I sit next to him on the hospital bed we purchased last year after his stroke. We have a lovely view of snow-covered trees and gently rolling hills.

A nurse and physical therapist visit three times a week to change bags, and administer a barrage of muscle exercises to his failing appendages. He smiles at night as I massage his one appendage, but that too has failed.

Six months after his stroke I had a massive heart attack which necessitated bypass surgery, and five grafts as the doctors say. Last week I had a stress test where the doc determined that four had failed, and the fifth ninety percent blocked or collapsed—not exactly sure which he said—the shock was setting in.

I’ve planned a special dinner party to celebrate our 62nd wedding anniversary. We’ve accumulated many friends over the years, so I asked our dearest friend to contact as many as she could. She called a few days ago to tell us over a hundred had been in touch with her. I gave her an unlimited budget, and left all the details to her for decorating, catering, and music.

I’m tired after spending the better part of two days stuffing hundreds of gift bags with $10,000 cash in each. I explained everything to Christopher. He gently squeezed my hand and perched his lips. I kissed him tenderly and we slept soundly throughout the night.

Our dearest friend arrived a few hours before the other guests. I led her to the kitchen, and explained how I wanted the gift bags distributed at the end of the party. I made my hands busy, and nonchalantly requested she help me finish up an email. I asked her to hit the return key and read off what it said so I knew the email was sent. She burst into tears and fell to the floor after she saw it was no email, but a bank transfer of a few million dollars to her account. I sarcastically chastised her for messing up my floor. She laughed, threw a towel at me, then stood up and hugged me until I told her we didn’t have all night.

Before the guests arrived, Christopher, well not so much Christopher, but his smile, and I explained, in detail to our dearest confidant, what was to happen before she handed out the gift bags. With a gentle squeeze of my hand her acknowledgement was implicit. An hour later the first of the guests arrived.

At precisely seven o’clock Christopher and I made our grand entrance. The floor surrounding Christopher’s bed descended into the main ballroom and the orchestra started playing Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E.

At ten o’clock sharp the music stopped, and our faithful cohort joined Christopher and me next to his bed. I took off my Stuart Hughes Diamond suit, and stood naked before all our friends. I climbed into bed with Christopher, and pulled a sheet over our waists. She told our multitude of friends they had an hour to say their goodbyes as we were then going to retire. Our friends shared their love with us, and dare I say, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Finally, we ascended into the bedroom where our doctor and lawyers were waiting for us. We hugged and cried, signed papers to make everything legal, and said our goodbyes. Our beloved and devoted compadre promised that after the funeral pyre was lit she would distribute the gift bags. The doctor calmly assured us we wouldn’t feel a thing, we would just fall asleep. I laid my head next to Christopher’s, and stared lovingly into his soothing sapphire eyes. As a single tear glided down his cheek, I squeezed his hand, and closed my eyes.