It was already dark and Thomas was sitting with his feet dug deep into the cold beach sand. The half jack in his hand together with what was left over of the one in his jacket pocket were doing a good job of keeping his insides warm enough for him to disregard the searing pain of cold his extremities were facing. Watching the swells of the ocean, he took another swig as a state of saudade washed over him.
Only three months ago he was sharing countless esoteric jokes and stories with his now late wife, Joanna, who died from a seemingly never-ending fight against a germinoma, a germ cell tumor in her brain. The two of them met at a young age, got married three years later and were married for 26 years. Thomas and Joanna finished their microbiology doctorates together and spent a good deal of time in different countries doing consultation work for various organizations and governmental health departments. Extended periods of work meant that they’d often live in foreign cities for months, sometimes years at a time.
They’d mostly work together but would sometimes have to spend months in different countries. This was strenuous for a couple who’d otherwise have a very limited number of other long term relationships with friends as the frequent relocating didn’t allow for those. Unintuitively, despite the long periods of silence between the arrival of letters, the periods apart and the longing for each other was a healthy kindling for their own relationship. The shortage of meaningful discourse with newly made friends acted as a funnel whereby Thomas and Joanna would pour every life event into their written exchanges, which only strengthened their bond with one another.
Just under two decades later they stopped consulting overseas, which ensured they’d never have to spend more than a few days apart. The friends they made were friends to both of them, they were socially content. Nevertheless, as many enjoyable ideosyncracies as their social circle had, Thomas and Joanna still shared a plethora of behaviours that, as strange as they seemed to others, would generally ensure a smile for both of them.
The waves were creeping up to Thomas on the beach and his feet were slowly getting wetter and wetter. The water was deadly cold, it was a month into winter. Staring into the darkness as if trying to find Joanna’s presence, Thomas could feel nothing but the debilitating pain of not being able to share a joyous life moment with his significant other, because she wasn’t there to receive his message. He did not feel joy anymore, nor anger or sadness. Thomas only ever experienced the cold abyss of not being able to communicate with the only person he wanted to communicate to, he felt wintercearig.
Together with the next wave of cold water and wave of misery, Thomas stood up and reached into his left pocket to take out two capsules of vecuronium bromide. He placed them on his tongue, braved the last third of his bottle and walked towards the dark ocean.