the first time she suggested it, it was funny.
"maybe one day, if i get sick, you'll have to be my doctor! you'll take care of me, right?"
"of course," the doctor would always say, crawling into his bed like the turtle into his shell. (he treasures sleep like the dead do.)
sometimes, she'd even pretend to cough as he took off his raincoat. [ahem, ahem] "i'm sick."
he'd kiss her on the cheek and retract again.
the best thing about her, the doctor thought, was that he didn't meet her in the hospital.
she was just a person in a place, with light in her eyes and a laugh always at the ready.
she was whole - he didn't have to make a life or death decision the first time he looked at her.
they could just be, and that was all he could ask for.
but one night, after a 75/25 chance of survival became a 50/50, the doctor came home to a muffled cry.
a slender yet veiny hand through her black waves and he saw her blotched red face.
the doctor, the turtle, retracted into his shell. never again to be fully exposed.
and they both knew.
-kiss kiss kiss, just like a ghost-