I Want You to Live for Me

5 min
He just wished it would all end. The unbearable pain. The countless sleepless nights. The tears. The heartache.
There seemed to be no light at the end of this tunnel. Elizabeth had meant the world to him and now that she had left, he had no world to live in.
If only he had been more careful. If only he had decided not to go out that night. If only he had listened to that little, nagging feeling telling him to just stay home.
That night vividly plays back constantly almost as a cruel reminder of his mistake. They were celebrating their five-year anniversary.

He gets in the car and turns it on waiting for Elizabeth to come outside. In that moment, he starts to feel a little nagging in his chest. It’s almost like a small voice, whispering, telling him to not go, to just stay home and watch a movie with the girls. He wonders if he should tell Elizabeth.
The passenger door opens and Elizabeth yells at him excitedly, “Come on babe! Let’s go!”
The small voice goes away as he looks at Elizabeth sit down next to him. She’s wearing an olive, green cardigan over a plain white shirt and some denim jeans. On her neck is a silver necklace with an aquamarine stone on it. It’s the one he had bought for her birthday. It glistens and stands out in beautiful contrast to her dark brown skin. She had let her hair down for the night and the curls seemed to fall as beautifully as a waterfall.
He smiles back and backs the car out of their driveway. They wave goodbye to the girls, Evelyn and Leah, as they drive down the street.
As they drive to the park, the conversation veers to that first night when they met. Waves of memories hit them, and they laugh about those very awkward moments when they met each other for the first time.
“Maybe perfection does exist in this world,” he says to Elizabeth.
“When I’m with you, it’s always perfect,” she responds back with a smile on her face.
The next few moments are a blur. They turn a corner and are suddenly confronted by a pair of bright headlights coming straight for them. Blinded by the light, he tries to veer out the way, but it was too late. A semitruck slams into the passenger side of the car -
He wakes up with a searing pain in the back of his head. Groggily, he looks at his surroundings. He’s lying on a hospital bed. One of his legs is held up in a cast and his arm has an IV tube stuck in it. Confused, he notices the people in the room. There’s a couple of nurses talking with a doctor. His parents are there. They’re sitting on the couch hugging Evelyn and Leah who are crying.
“Where’s Elizabeth?” he tries to ask, but he barely has the strength to speak over the volume of a whisper.
Exerting more force, he painfully calls out, “Where’s Elizabeth?”
Evelyn and Leah run up to the left side of the bed. “Daddy! We thought you were gonna die too!” Evelyn exclaims, with tears still in her eyes.
“Wait, what? Where’s your mother?” he asks full of concern and confusion.
The room is filled with silence and judging by the faces of all the people around him, he knows what happened.
The doctor walks up to the right side of the bed.
“Mr. Francis. I am sorry to inform you, but your wife, Elizabeth, did not survive the crash,” says the doctor as he puts an arm on his shoulder.
The doctor goes on to explain to him that the car had flipped over about 4 times before it stopped. People nearby ran to help them out of the car. They had managed to get him out, but as soon as they tried to pull Elizabeth out, the engine had caught on fire and within seconds exploded. The people who tried to help Elizabeth were thrown back by the explosion but were fortunately able to make it out alive. They reported that Elizabeth had screamed out his name right before the explosion.
He barely pays attention to the story. He looks up at the doctor and says, “Perfection doesn’t exist in this world.”

The will to live had seemed to disappear with each passing day. Friends and family still stopped by every day to check up on him. Their company would provide a comforting moment, but that moment would leave as quickly as it came.
Being at home caused more pain than comfort. What is a home without the one you love? He decided to take the girls with him to his parent’s house until things got better.
But 6 months had already passed by. By this time, the pain had just become his best friend. It was almost like a demon that stood on his shoulder sucking out every single ounce of emotion that he had left.
Everyone seemed to be getting more worried, asking him when he would start working again, telling him to keep pushing on for the girl’s sake, and telling him that everything would get better.
He sits on a wing chair, next to the window, gazing up at the half moon in what used to be his bedroom in his parent’s home. It’s about 3:30 in the morning.
He’s brought back to reality out of his thoughts.
He looks over towards the door. Evelyn, his oldest daughter, walks in with her teddy bear in her arms.
“What is it honey?” he asks. She looks so much like Elizabeth.
“I woke up from a nightmare,” her lip trembles as she says this. Her eyes are watery, and he could tell that she was trying to fight back tears.
“Was it the monsters again?” he asks.
“No Daddy, it was you,” she chokes as she says this.
“What do you mean?” he asks a little more concerned now.
“I had a nightmare that you got in the car and drove until you crashed into someone.”
His heart skips a beat when she says this. Almost as if fate had a mind of its own, the car keys he had just put into the pocket of his hoodie fall onto the floor.
Evelyn gasps. Her eyes fill with an intense fear as she looks at the keys on the floor.
How did she know? He hadn’t told anyone that he would do this. Could it be -
His thoughts are cut off by Evelyn’s smile, it was the same as Elizabeth’s. She looks at him and then throws her arms around his neck. This time, he gasps.
“Daddy, both Leah and I miss her a lot too, but I want you to know that Mommy wants you to stay. You’re all that we have left Daddy, so please don’t go,” she whispers into his ear.
He could hear Elizabeth’s voice behind Evelyn’s. Tears full of guilt and shame run down his face. He embraces Evelyn and begins to sob uncontrollably.
How selfish was he to try and leave his own daughters behind? This whole time he thought that the only way to get rid of the heartache was to run away from it. Deep down he knew this wasn’t the right thing too, but he had given up on the option of ever recovering from this.
His mind fills with the memory of the night when he had proposed marriage to Elizabeth.

Nervously, he gets down on one knee and opens a box with a beautiful silver wedding ring in it.
Elizabeth looks down with a face full of excitement and joy. Before he can even ask the “big question” the smile disappears from her face and she asks seriously, “Would you die for me?”
Confused, and now even more nervous, he looks at her and responds affirmatively “Of course I would.”
“Well, I don’t want you to die for me, that would be too easy. I want you to live for me, no matter what we’re going through. Would you live for me?” her eyes are firm and her tone of voice demanding as she asks this.
He thought about it and responded, “Yes, I would live for you.”

As he sits there with Evelyn in his arms, he finally begins to understand what Elizabeth had meant by that question she had asked so long ago. Elizabeth was right, dying for her would be the easy choice.
The decision was clear. He would live for her.

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