General Fiction posted July 23, 2017

This work has reached the exceptional level
A nurse helps her patient

In bed

by oliver818

Unexpected Romance Contest Winner 

The blue hospital gown was light in her hands as she helped him slip his arm inside. In spite of his illness, balls of muscle still poked out from his thin frame. His gasping mouth worked like a fish's, pulling in the dry air of the over-heated room, and spilling it out with the odor of the dying. Thin hair pricked at her fingers as she lifted his legs into the bed.

"Almost there, Mr. Jakobs. Let's get you nice and comfy for the night, alright?"

The sheets rose and fell as his breath settled.

"Thank you, Rosa. You're an angel."

"You're very welcome, Mr. Jakobs. You just get some sleep, now."

"I'll do my best."

His grey hair was soft between her fingers, and his wrinkled brow tasted of soap, as she kissed him good night.

"Rosa, did you just kiss me?"

"Oh my goodness, I'm so sorry, Mr. Jakobs. I don't know what came over me. I have kids, you know, I always kiss them when I tuck them in at night, I must have got confused."

"It's okay. Would you believe that it's the first kiss I've received in twenty years?"

Rain drops sparkled on the window outside, and somewhere, a hacking cough broke the silence. She thought of her house, messy and filled with toys and painful memories of a failed marriage.

"You're joking?"

"No, I'm not. I haven't been kissed since my Lilly died. We never had kids, you see."

His thin, grey lips split into a tired smile.

"How long have you been my nurse, Rosa? I've lost track of time."

"Nine months, Mr. Jakobs."

"Please, call me Paul."

His firm fingers curled around hers.

"I only have a few weeks, maybe even days to live."

"Don't talk like that, Paul."

"It's true. I'm old but I'm not stupid."

"I never said you were, Paul. In fact, in the time I've known you, I've seen a man who's generous to a fault, who loves learning, loves people, and doesn't deserve to die alone, in a hospital bed."

"You are a beautiful person and I'm so grateful that you were here to be the person to give me my last kiss. If I were a younger, healthier man, I'd maybe even hit on you."

"Stop it, you big silly." Her sleeve came away wet from her eyes.

"Rosa, thank you."

"Go to sleep now, Paul. Good night."

"Will you kiss me goodnight again, tomorrow evening?"

"And every evening before you sleep, Paul, if that's what you want."

His eyes closed, and his breathing softened. She pulled the blinds down, straightened her uniform and turned off the light. If only he were forty years younger and not dying, she thought as she pulled the door shut behind her.

Writing Prompt
The topic for this contest is: Unexpected Romance. The story brings two people together, two people who don't necessarily realize that they belong together but the audience is rooting for them.

Unexpected Romance
Contest Winner

Thank you to the talented artist Renate for the use of her painting.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by Renate-Bertodi at

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