Catherine sat next to Michael on the piano bench. He was busy writing music, so he barely noticed her. At least that’s what she thought. But he smiled as she sat next to him, only she didn’t see it. She scooted a little closer so their shoulders were touching. Michael’s smile got a little bigger but he continued to write notes out on paper. Catherine’s head came to rest on his shoulder gently. He couldn’t help it, he chuckled. She chuckled in return and kissed his cheek. “I knew you were bluffing.” She whispered.
“No you didn’t, dear.” Michael said looking at her with a smile. Catherine blushed, he was right. She did think he was ignoring her. She had to stop thinking like that. He always knew when she was there.
“I’ll have to go home soon.” Catherine said with a sigh. Michael frowned at her.
“I wish you could stay.” He said. She smiled slightly at him and then kissed his cheek softly.
“Me too.” She whispered, “Someday, dearest, some day.” Soon, she left.
It seemed like a normal night to Catherine, but not to Michael. He sat at the piano bench as he had done so many times before. He acted normal, but his heart was pounding. He was writing now. His hands were shaking. Catherine slide onto the bench next to him, like she had done so many times before. He smiled, but he pretended she wasn’t there. But he was smiling as she sat next to him. Catherine scooted closer. He smiled more, but before she could scoot closer he faced her and reached in his pocket. Michael pulled out a small black box, he opened it and revealed a small normal diamond ring.
“I-I know it’s not m-much-“Michael began stuttering.
But before he could get another word out Catherine wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. “It’s perfect!” She cried, tears streaming down her face.
Michael hugger her back tightly, “Stay with me, Catherine. Please?” He asked pulling away to look at her.
“Always.” She replied instantly.
The morning after their wedding day Michael sat at the piano bench as he had done so many times before. He began to play the song he wrote for her. Catherine was still asleep, but she was soon awake. She tiptoed into their living room behind Michael. She always loved to hear him play. Quietly she sat next to him on the piano bench, as she had done so many times. He pretended she wasn’t there, but he smiled at her presence. She scooted closer, and his smile grew bigger. When their shoulders touched he couldn’t help himself. Michael stopped playing and wrapped his arms around her hugging her tightly.
“Please stay.” He begged, softly kissing her.
“Always.” Catherine replied smiling.
The night their first child was born there was no piano. No music writing. The birth was hard. The doctors told him she might not make it. He sat in the hospital room for days. He neither slept nor ate. Michael just sat there holding Catherine’s hand. “Please…stay.” He begged over and over again.
One night Catherine’s hand squeezed back, and one word came from her lips, “Always.” She whispered turning her head weakly and looking at him. He looked up and smiled at her, “Always.” She said again.
This time Michael was in the hospital bed. But they were both old now. The doctors were sure this time that there was no way he would make it. Catherine held his hand tightly. She was so scared to lose him. He looked at her with such fondness and love that only made Catherine cry more. Her frail body shook with sobs.
“Hey…It’s okay, dear.” He said softly, still looking at her. “It will be okay.”
“Please stay…” Catherine sobbed looking into his eyes.
“Always…” He said reaching up to place his hand against her cheek one last time. Soon, he was gone.
Catherine was almost too weak to walk. But she got up in the middle of the night anyways. She went to the living room where their old piano sat. She sat down as she had done so many times before. But there was no Michael there. There was no one. She ran her fingers over the old dusty keys. She had never learned to play.
Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder. Catherine turned and looked up. She was surprised to see Michael. But he was young again. Like the day they were married.
“Michael…” She looked up at him curiously, “Y-you’re here.”
He smiled down at her, and then crouched meeting her eyes, “Always…” He whispered. Soon, they were gone, together…always.