Eric and Marilyn were the perfect couple. She was a raven haired beauty with ice blue eyes and a smile that could literally light up the room. He was the traditional tall, dark and handsome. He had black hair with sprinkles of silver that teased his temples. Marilyn referred to his hazel eyes as “mood ring eyes” because of the way they changed color. They had been described as “two beautiful people who belonged on top of a wedding cake.”
Marilyn was a doctor who specialized in emergency medical care and worked for a large, well-funded hospital. Eric was the CEO of a highly lucrative pharmaceutical company and a sometimes wannabe rock and roller. Their professions had brought them together ten years earlier and as they say, the rest is history.
Although Eric was ten years Marilyns’ senior, they seemed to be soul mates in every sense of the word. Two years after they married they had their only child, a daughter. Marilyn named her Erica as an homage to her father.
Eric was a gentle, kind man who adored his wife and daughter. Marilyn was clearly the center of his world and Erica was the light of his life.
When they were together, they were always hand in hand or arm in arm. They seemed to want to always be touching each other. Their friends used to say that if there had ever been two people who were made for each other, it was Eric and Marilyn.
Marilyn used to blot her lipstick onto a piece of paper and tuck it into Erics’ planner. She would write on the paper, “where would you like for these lips to be?”
Eric was just as sensual. When Erica had a sleep-over and he and Marilyn had a day off together, he would fix breakfast and serve it to her in bed, wearing nothing but a tie.
When Eric had one of his “gigs,” Marilyn was his loudest cheerleader. After he finished playing, she would flirt with him and ask him to take her home, with the promise of doing things to him things that he would not soon forget. She loved watching him play and seemed to be memorizing every line and curve of his face as he belted out the songs of Mick Jagger.
One large room in the basement of their house had been completely sound-proofed so that he and his fellow band members could practice without disturbing the neighborhood.
They weren’t a paid band but never passed up an opportunity to play at somebodys’ request.
When Eric suddenly started having nosebleeds, accompanied by flashes of light and sharp, stabbing pains in his head, he tried to hide it. Marilyn suspected that something was wrong when he started snapping at her and Erica for no apparent reason, as that behavior was completely out of character for him.
After Marilyns’ consistent prodding, a much begrudged trip to the hospital revealed that Eric had a brain tumor.
Surgery was quickly performed and the prognosis was cautious optimism. Marilyn knew what the odds of recurrence for that type of tumor were but she hoped that he was going to be one of the exceptions.
Two months had passed and Eric hadn’t yet returned to work nor had he returned to his music but he seemed to be recovering nicely. Their anniversary was coming up and it had always been an anticipated celebration. Eric surprised Marilyn when he told her to get dressed because he was taking her dancing. She asked him if he was sure he felt up to it. He smiled and said “absolutely.”
He asked her to wear a certain red dress, which had always been one of his favorites. They went to “their” place, the place where they had celebrated all of their anniversaries. As they walked in, they could hear the band playing. Marilyn looked at Eric and wondered if he missed being able to play.
After they had a glass of wine, Eric took her hand and lifted her from her chair. The dance floor cleared as they walked toward it. Eric motioned to the band and Marilyn beamed as they started to play “Lady in Red.”
As they danced, they seemed to be lost in each others’ eyes. Eric leaned over and whispered in her ear, “happy anniversary, darling.” She smiled as she took his face in her hands and said “I want to thank you for giving me such a wonderful life. Promise me that you’ll never leave me.” He hesitated for a moment and then said “I promise.”
Marilyns’ smile slowly faded as she watched blood trickle from Erics’ nose.