FICTION: SOME ARE BORN GREEN-FINGERED
Rose didn’t think they were “quite right...”
I said “Don’t be silly”, and laughed.
This annoyed her as she had hoped for some reassurance.
“There’s something about them…”
“It takes all sorts”, I said.
The people who came to live down the hall were a little weird, I’d have to admit that, at least to myself.
They’d moved in a couple of weeks before. I’m sure the terrific storm which had been thundering all day was purely coincidental. They’d just picked one helluva day to move.
Since then they’d kept themselves very much to themselves.
I’d caught a fleeting glimpse of him on a couple of occasions. He reminded me of the guy in that painting, you know the one, of the two old sticks standing in front of their church, he with his pitchfork and both with those sternly malevolent stares?
His head was long and narrow and he was pretty well bald. I suppose you would call him bullet-headed. His wife I’d seen just once as she scurried in from the lashing rain of the storm, hair slicked down, for all the world looking like a frightened field mouse.
What really freaked my wife out was the green glow.
She took me protesting down the hall one night to show me. It came from under their door, a lime green kind of light with just a trace of a pulse in it. I’d said maybe they had some newfangled kind of TV.
“With a green screen?”, she asked, skeptically and with notes of both sarcasm and annoyance in her voice.
I shrugged and went back to watch the game.
The next few days passed without any further incident. So it seemed to me anyway.
It was only after a week or so that I noticed the change in my wife.
Her face had become noticeably thinner and sallow and I hadn’t been aware of seeing those dark circles below her eyes before. It worried me.
Sorry to just blurt this out to you but... she did die a peaceful death.
Her pallor had just gone from bad to worse until she just faded right away and died.
It had all been so quick.
She took to her bed silently, with no complaint and stayed there.
I looked in on her from time to time to hear her whispered instructions on meals and so forth. I assumed she knew best what to do and that whatever bug she’d caught would work its way through her system and she’d recover. But it didn’t and she didn’t.
On the day she died she didn’t look at all like the woman who I had married and lived with these forty-three years. She was so thin and pale. I’d never seen her beloved face look so haggard.
The day she died I sat beside her bed as usual with her thin, bony hand in mine. Suddenly her usual weak, limp, grip strengthened and her hand grasped mine very tight.
She had passed in that moment.
I raised myself up and gazed down at her weary, wizened face.
She looked so worn out, so defeated, but at least now she was at peace.
I’ve always been a rather unemotional man I suppose, lumpish some would say. Called downright dull and stupid by others I know. Some may have been surprised then by my tears, thinking I wasn’t capable of them. For all those years she’d taken good care of me, seeing I got to the clinic in time, feeding me and making sure I had everything I needed. I couldn’t do much in my wheelchair and my condition would have strained even the most loving marriage. So, I cried, I did.
I had managed with difficulty to raise myself far enough up on the bed so that I was looking directly down upon her poor emaciated face. And my tears then fell like rain directly down from my cheeks to hers.
I suppose time had lost its meaning for a while and it was only when I heard the sharp knock upon the door that I came to.
I wheeled myself out of the bedroom and to the door and opened it.
To my surprise it was the neighbors.
“We heard”, was all they said as they stood there before walking in without me having uttered a word.
Though I appreciated they’d come and assumed they meant they’d heard of the death of my wife... though I didn’t see how, they didn’t look at all sympathetic.
In fact their expressions were unchanged, just like in that old painting I told you about.
We all moved into the bedroom and to the bedside. They gazed down at her, mournful it’s true, but that seemed to be their perpetual expression.
I turned from looking at them back to my wife, blinking back the remaining teardrops which still clung to my eyelids.
It was just then that I noticed something about her pallor I was sure hadn’t been there till that moment.
Just behind the alabaster white of her cheeks I could just discern the faintest suffusion of the most delicate shade of palest green.
I became aware of the couples’ hands in my field of view.
They had them clasped them together where they stood on the opposite side of the bed from me.
Then, very slowly and deliberately he stretched out one thin, bony finger and touched my wife’s forehead with it and held it there.
I felt a tick of annoyance at this presumption and was just about to voice a complaint when I felt a vibration. Was his wife was chanting, I don’t know what it was, but the air seemed to be suddenly humming somehow .
My attention had moved to this strange pair and their odd behavior but when I finally looked back down I was amazed to see color returning to the alabaster cheeks of my wife.
Somehow… somehow… she was returning to me.
From that day she spent more and more of her time visiting down the hall.
I never saw the neighbors again until the final day when she left, this time for good.
They came to me, all three of them.
My wife took my head in her hands and kissed me long and lingeringly on my forehead.
Then he reached out from my left side, touched me once on the chest, once on my throat and once on my forehead where the feeling of my wife’s kiss still remained.
I felt a strange energy inside me. I found I could now feel fully like I imagined others all could.
And to my amazement, I could WALK.
The neighbors walked back down the hall and watched as my wife hugged me where I stood, amazed.
For a time we remained like that until at last she released me and facing me, put a finger to her lips, and then, with a smile, walked to join the others.
She curled a finger at me indicating I should follow. I did.
I knew neither of us would ever be the same again... but that was fine with me.
After all we now had a job to do, a mission.
There was a planet out there badly needing made green...