I Won’t Last a Day Without You

Blue sky. White clouds. Lily’s life has been so quiet for years since her knees gave up. She usually spends the whole day sitting in her wheelchair just staring at the sky. Deep inside her misty eyes, Lily feels regret. What had she done to go through all this? Does her life not have any meaning at all? At a quick moment, a teardrop lightly fell from her blurry eyes. She thinks, “Will I ever walk again?”

Throughout her life, Lily relied on her feet as she travelled around the country. She used to write for a travel magazine which required her to go to the various places she was assigned to visit. On one of her travels, Lily meets her future husband, James, a man who would eventually take care of her for decades.

James would often take Lily to different places she had not discovered yet. Together, they laid eyes on the many wonders the world had offered them. They’ve trekked on mountains, crossed through rivers, and dived under the seas. They even had a bucket list which Lily shares in her magazine page. It took them years to visit every place on their list. It also took them years to know that they’re really the one for each other.

On one of their trips, James took Lily to the beach and set up a camp for them to spend the night. The couple sat quietly by the campfire and exchanged their thoughts about their future.
“James, I just realized that we’ve visited all of the places on our bucket list.”
“Really? But that shouldn’t mean we should stop travelling together.”
“I know. But I don’t think there’s somewhere else to go.”
“Lily, we may have discovered a lot of places, but there is still one place which I haven’t gone with you just yet.”
“Hmm? Where would that be?”
“The church.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
Amidst the cold breeze from the sea and the warmth of the fire, James found the opportunity to kneel in front of Lily and showed her an engagement ring.
“Lily,” James said. “Will you marry me?”
Lily froze in surprise, not knowing how to react. For years, Lily dreamt of spending the rest of her life just travelling with the man that she loves. And that man is now in front of her.
“Yes!” Lily yelled in excitement. “Of course, we’re going to the church together!”
James was delighted with her response and quickly fitted the ring on her finger. She lifted her to the air and gave her a spinning hug. They both joyously laughed and stared at each other’s eyes for a long time.
“Now tell me where that church is,” Lily smiled. “We’ll get there as soon as we can.”

Everything was going according to what they wished for. But something unexpected came into their way.

Lily and James were hiking on a mountain one cloudy afternoon when Lily suddenly fell on the ground, unable to move. She felt pain in her knees that disabled her from hiking any further. Worried by Lily’s condition, James carried her back to the foot of the mountain and rushed her to the nearest hospital.

Later that day, the couple found out that Lily has Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease caused by inflammation in the knees, that caused her knees to deform and become weak. They also found out that she would not be able to walk anymore soon if not treated immediately. The two felt devastated when they found out about the news. Lily couldn’t handle her emotions and she burst into tears knowing that she would never enjoy travelling the same way again. James approached her and hugged her tightly, trying to fix the broken girl.
“It’s okay, my love,” James whispered. “We’ll find a way to cure that.”
Lily couldn’t do anything, but cry; not only because of the pain that she feels on her knees, but also because of the thought of having a permanent disability.
“James,” she whispered. “Would you still accept me now that I won’t be able to walk soon?”
“I would still accept you, my dear Lily,” James replied. “Let me be the reason for you to still stand up and keep on walking. I won’t let go of you. I promise.”
“Stay with me, my love,” Lily cried.
“I will.”

After several months of treatment, fate has been bitter and Lily became crippled. For many years, Lily lived in despair. She finally left her job at the travel magazine since she finds herself useless now that she couldn’t walk. She spent the rest of her life at home, enjoying her small world within the four walls of her room and a window.

For decades, James stayed by her side and took care of her. He would still take Lily to places sometimes just to make her travelling spirit alive once again. Though he knows this wouldn’t cure his wife’s condition, his efforts were enough to relieve Lily from her prison. Lily has ever been so thankful for these efforts her husband makes to make her happy even just for a short while.

One quiet afternoon, James thought of something to make Lily smile once again.
“Lily, my love,” James called her. “Wear something elegant today.”
“Are we going somewhere, my love?” Lily asked.
“Not really, but this day would be so special for both of us.”
Lily couldn’t understand what James was trying to say, but she just followed what her husband told her. She thought maybe he was planning a surprise.

When Lily was done dressing up, she went to their living room and was surprised with the setting that stumbled upon her. There were ribbons hanging on the windows, scented candles on the table, and rose petals scattered on the floor. In the middle stood James dressed up in a suit holding a bouquet of flowers. She felt charmed with the view and she chuckled at James as she looked around.
“James, what is this all about?” she asked.
“Nothing special,” he replied. “I just wanted to make you happy right now.”
James walked closer to Lily and handed her the bouquet.
“You never failed to make me happy, my love,” Lily smiled.

James turned on the music player and played their theme song, I Won’t Last a Day Without You by The Carpenters. He approached Lily and held her hand.
“Would you dance with me, my love?”
Lily looked up his face and smiled in laughter.
“Are you kidding me?” she laughed. “You see, I couldn’t stand anymore!”
“But this is our theme song, right?” James insisted. “You promised we would always dance to our favourite song.”
“But how would that be possible?”
Without a response, James held Lily and lifted her from her wheelchair.
“Don’t worry,” James said. “I’ll support you.”

Lily didn’t know how to react. She couldn’t even feel her legs touching the floor, but she knows she is standing up. Lily looked at her husband’s eyes and felt his sincerity.
“It’s been 40 years and you still chose to dance with me?” Lily asked.
“All my life,” James replied. “I have never found anybody else worth dancing with but you.”
Lily smiled as teardrops fell on her cheeks. She hugged her husband tightly and never let go of him. They swayed to the beat while the song was playing and together they sang to the lyrics from their heart.

When there’s no getting over that rainbow
When my smallest of dreams won’t come true
I can take all the madness the world has to give
But I won’t last a day without you

As the emotions rushed so quickly, James seized the moment and kissed his wife on her lips. Lily felt weak but felt strengthened every second their lips stayed together.
“James,” Lily said afterwards. “Let me tell you something.”
“What is it, my love?”
“Every time you kiss me, my knees shiver in excitement. And though they are already numb by now, I know I’d still feel that tingling sensation whenever you’re around. Because I remember, you are the reason I’m still standing up. You are the reason I’m still standing up in this world that has been telling me to lay down and sleep forever. I thank you for keeping me standing still. And that is why I love you so much.”
“For once in my entire life, I’ve never thought of giving up on you. Not even the simplest reasons would let me stop from loving you. I admit, taking care of you through those years was a hard task and is a great responsibility, but my love for you had kept me doing what I must. From the moment we both knew about your condition, I knew that I should never leave your side. My love for you is the reason I never left.”
Lily burst into tears as she heard the sincere message her husband just told her. And like a miracle, she felt herself jump onto him and she hugged her husband real tight.

As the song came to an end, she whispered one last statement to her husband before finally closing her eyes.
“Thank you for staying with me until the end. I love you.”

For Marialle

Enjoy reading this while listening to this song!


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