Author : Roi R. Czechvala, Staff Writer

“Don’t go,” he cried.

“I am here Vasilly. I will always be here. I will always be with you. I love you,” she said as she slid away.

Those last few months, she suffered horribly. Almost all forms were curable, and the ones that weren’t, weren’t much of a problem. Lung cancer for instance. Still incurable, but if caught in time, a new lung could be grown and the old replaced, all on an out patient basis.

Lymphoma was ruthless. Lymphoma was a cruel killer. It spread fast. ‘Nites couldn’t keep up. Ancient remedies such as chemotherapy were tried. They slowed the spread, but in the end, it did no good. The result was inevitable.

Her once beautiful, athletic body had wasted away to nothing. She had become a 39 kilo caricature. Her beautiful mane of flaming red hair had become an orange halo about her nearly bald pate. Her voice, once low and sultry was only a dry rasp. None of that mattered, he still loved her. He always would.

He held her hand as she slept. The doctor walked in. “Mr. Kovalevsky, it’s time. There is nothing more we can do.”

“But she’s here, I can still hear her.” He tapped his temple, indicating his sphenoidal implant. “I can feel her dreams. She’s not suffering in here. I can hear her laughter.”

“Mr. Kov… Sergei. Please, she may not be suffering in her dreams. I pray that she isn’t, but she’s suffering out here. It’s time to let her have her peace.”

“I won’t let you kill her. I WON’T.”

“Nobody is killing her. It’s her time. We all die. Every one must die.”

“Not her, Lord. Please Lord, don’t take her.”

38 minutes after the life giving machines had been removed and the medi ‘nites neutralized, Tatiana Ivonovich Kovalevsky, sighed one last time and quietly slipped away. Sergei Vasil Kovalevsky gently laid his head upon her breast and wept.

Dr. Korolenko drew a stylus across his tablet noting the time of death and turned to leave the grieving man alone. “I heard her, Doctor,” Sergei said, tapping his temple, “I heard her say, ‘Goodbye.’”

Vasilly, Vasilly. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Sergei woke with a start. The dream had been so vivid. He could see Tatiana clearly. She was admonishing him for some unknown transgression. He got up and crossed to the window of his study in the small apartment he and Tatiana had shared near Gorky Park. Tatiana loved taking the pedal boats out on the ponds in the summer. That was gone now, Tatiana was dead.

He went to the small kitchen for a cup of tea. He added a large dose of vodka and returned to the study. Books littered the desk and floor. He had taken an early retirement from Lomonosov University, where he had taught physics to bored students.

Look at what you’ve become Vasilly. Is this any way to behave?

Sergei fell to his knees. Tears rolled down his cheeks. “Tatiana. I hear you. Where are you?”

I am here. His implant buzzed painfully.

And here. His phone began to ring.

And here. His computer announced incoming mail.

And here. Outside the window, down in the wintry streets, air raid sirens blared. Car alarms sounded. Burglar alarms screeched. All across the city, a cacophony grew to a wailing crescendo and just as quickly silenced.

In the deafening quiet, he heard her soft sultry voice from deep within himself. I am here now.

I am here Vasilly. I will always be here. I will always be with you. I love you.

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