She coughed and coughed and coughed some more till she could taste blood – when the bout passed, she fell back onto the bare mattress. She was at her very worst – unkempt hair, water had not touched her skin for days on end, three-day-old clothes and crusty eyes. Make-up was a thing that had been left behind in the past. She called out for him, he didn’t seem to be around. The measly medication that they were able to afford was not helping, except to make her woozy and tired all the time and she floated back into a state that was suspended between sleep and consciousness, unbidden tears slipping out of her eyes because of sheer helplessness – the chemotherapy might be working but it was also sapping the quality of her life. When she came to, she could see him sitting on the floor through hazy eyes. Maybe the medicines were working after all, she passed out again.
After a while, she felt the shaking, she opened her eyes. He was looking at her face. Her first thoughts were of how tired he looked. He was asking her to sit up and she did. He brought a plate of freshly-cut fruits, all her favorite ones, toward her and asked her to eat up. She smiled at finally having the appetite for something and she ate. She smiled more at the thought of him having cut the fruits, he who have never lifted a finger in his rich, comfortable life.
When she was done, he scooped her up onto his lap and she automatically curled up against him with her face right next to his scruffy chin. She was about to close her eyes when he pulled out a rose from behind and said, “I love you.” She smiled yet again, this time way wider. He thought this was the most she has smiled in weeks. Perhaps even since her diagnosis.
They curled up together and talked about their days, lives, work, family, home and their dreams. They didn’t know how long they would be able to keep having such moments but… They were content. They were happy in that moment.
And that’s all the romance you really need.