My old room is not so big, but it is cozy enough and well furnished. I liked that it was just okay, or at least, spacious enough for me and the kids. If they ever got frightened and couldn't stay in their own rooms, or just wanted to be with me, they could. And we would still be very comfortable.
The room had a dressing table and a mirror at the west wing, corner. There were pictures on the wall, pictures of me, Fiona, and the children. The bed frame stood opposite the dressing table.
Would you believe that for one whole year, I lived in that room as Patrick Powey's wife. But we never hugged, neither did we kiss or even pass romantic glances at each other. For one whole year, we were married, but we were never intimate.
Its ten years now, but I still remember my first morning in the room. That morning as I dressed the bed and put the room in order, the rays of the sun crept in and illuminated the entire room with its golden glow. My curtains were blue, matching the colour of the rug. There were rose flowers in the flower vases, which stood by both sides of the bed. The room was not so glamourous, on the contrary, it was just neat, simple and very comfortable.
It was my first morning as Mrs. Powey, and also the beginning of a new year and a new phase in our lives. I remember sitting quietly in my room, after putting it in order. There I held a picture closely, and looked at it. The picture was the one Fiona took with Patrick, about seven years ago, during their wedding ceremony at Fiona's mother's family home. It was indeed a joyous day for both of them. Before her death, Fiona never stopped telling me what a great man her husband was. To me, then, those were pure exaggerations, but I gave a listening ear.
Fiona Powey was the happy wife of Patrick Powey, and a wonderful mother to two beautiful girls, but, she didn't have much time on earth. At that moment, when I thought about it, I understood that God knew she was not going to stay long on earth, so, he gave her the best of every thing. The best mother, the best husband, the best children, best friend and a very happy life. Fiona was well and indeed very happy until she suddenly fell ill. We were sure it wasn't anything serious, but after the doctor ran some tests and found that she had cancer cells in her breast, which had spread wide and fast, we knew that all was indeed not well. Patrick and I wore long faces as we sat by her hospital bed one evening, but all she did was smile.
"Please don't feel bad for me." She begged. "If anything happens to me, you still have your whole life ahead of you. Please don't worry about me."
"How can I not worry about you?" Patrick asked.
"If you worry about me, who's going to worry about our children?" Fiona asked, with a very sincere smile playing around her lips. It was almost like she had an answer to her own question.
Patrick tried to be strong for his family but often times, I saw him in tears. He didn't cry out loud like a baby, but tears frequently ran down the contours of his well structured, cheek bones. It was on her sick bed that I got to really see for myself, just how much love the couple had for each other. Patrick left his construction business in the hands of his superintendent, and spent every passing day with Fiona. He wanted her last days to be filled with fun and plenty of love. although, mother Phil, Fiona's mother, was around to help look after the kids and also after her daughter, Patrick still found time to bring the children, Jada and Kathrine, along, whenever they were back from school. The children played with their mother. They kissed and hugged her as they promised that all will be well. Well, what did they know? They were just little kids. They didn't really understand the seriousness of their mother's illness. Everyday, for three months, we visited the hospital and Patrick paid the bills.
On the morning Fiona died, I had just gotten into her hospital room when I heard Partrick say, "...please don't force me to make such promises. It isn't right." He was sitting by her side, on the bed.
"Is everything okay?" I asked, as I looked from wife to husband.
"Everything is just perfect dear." Fiona replied, smiling. Although her smile was already weak.
"No, nothing is perfect." Patrick said, as he looked up at me. "My wife thinks its wise for us to get married after she's gone."
"What?" I heard myself almost screaming. "Where in the whole of earth did you get such an idea?" Fiona wanted to say something in response, but I didn't let her. "Forget it!" I said, cutting her short. "Don't answer the question, but please, get that idea out of your head. It's not going to happen."
"Can you two please grant the request of a dying woman." Fiona pleaded, stubbornly. "I only want what's good for both of you and the children too."
"And you are going to do that by match making us?" Patrick asked, with a frown. "This is wrong Fiona. You know my heart beats for you alone."
"I know my love." Fiona said, with a sad face. "But after I'm long gone, you will need a woman again. I want the woman who replaces me in your life to be my best friend. I don't want anyone else and I have my reasons."
"Whatever those reasons are Fiona, I don't like the idea that..." I couldn't finish what I was saying because Fiona suddenly started to convulse.
"What is it my love?" Patrick asked, as he hugged her to himself.
"Fiona? Fiona!!!" I called. My heart raced, as fear crept in. When I saw that her situation wasn't getting any better, I ran out to get the doctor.
The doctor rushed in with his team of nurses and soon, we were ushered out of the room so they could try to save Fiona's life. For the next 30 minutes, Patrick and I waited outside. We paced the length of the waiting room because there was just nothing else we could do.
When the doctor finally came out, he looked sad. One could see the pain in his eyes. I didn't need to ask how Fiona was doing. I had seen enough movies as well as real life experiences to know that my friend, was gone. While Patrick rushed forward with hope in his eyes, I sat on the ground with my back up against the wall. I was too weak to do anything else. Tears flowed down my cheeks and soon afterwards, I heard Patrick crying out loud. He could no longer hide what he was feeling.
A week later, during Fiona's funeral ceremony, the doctor came to us. He told us that Fiona had a dying wish. In as much as her wish sounded strange to him, he still had to deliver it.
"What did she say?" Patrick asked. I already had an idea about what the doctor would say and so did Patrick.
After the doctor finished speaking, he asked. "Why are you two not surprised about what I just said?"
"Because those were her last words to us too." Patrick replied, "We refused of course, but then..."
"But then what?" I said, cutting him short. "I'm not just going to get up and marry you. That's my own decision to make."
"Of course it is. I only plead that you think about the children." Patrick said, although he looked really confused. "They need a mothers love and care, now more than ever, and they have already gotten used to you. Please, we all need your help. I don't know what I will do with two little girls. Besides, one is just five years old. She's still as good as a baby and I'm really confused right now."
"I thought you said you wouldn't go through with Fiona's plan." I asked with a frown. "Why the sudden change of heart?"
"I want to fulfil my wife's last wish. That aside, she is right about needing help with the kids. My sisters are abroad with their families. I can't expect them to stay with me and the kids forever."
"What about Fiona's mum?"
"She can only stay with me for a while. After that she would be gone."
I sighed and looked up at the doctor. He looked back at me with wide eyes and said. "Don't look at me. This decision is yours and yours alone to make. So, good luck with whatever you decide to do." That said, he left us and went to mingle with other sympathizers.
"I think we should talk about this later." I said, as I turned back to face Patrick. "For today, let us just honor Fiona. She deserves our respect."
"Sure." Patrick said, with his head hanging low.
The funeral ceremony went on peacefully. Jada and Kathrine were mostly by my side. Although, they sometimes went off to be with their grandmother.
Three months after Fiona's funeral, Patrick brought up the issue of Fiona's last wish with both her family members and his. He explained to them that he wanted to honor his wife's last wish and also get a mother for his children. However, the family members did not give their support.
"Why would you want to marry your wife's best friend? And three months after her death?" Fiona's mother asked. "You're disrespecting my daughter's memory."
"Even if you feel like moving ahead with your life by getting another woman, why must it be Sammantha?" His elder sister asked.
The others present also had a thing or two to say, but then, the doctor stood up and cleared things for us.
"They are not doing it just because they want to." The doctor said. "They are doing it because it was Fiona's last wish. As I tried to save her on her sick bed, she grabbed my hand and said. Please tell my husband, Sam is the only mother I want for my children. If you think I'm making this up, I can get a video footage from the hospital or call any of the nurses who were with me that day."
Everyone kept quiet after the doctor spoke. It was hard for them but they gave their consent. We fixed a date and did a court wedding. There were no refreshments afterwards. The situation was already awkward and we didn't want to worsen it.
After I moved into the house, Patrick took me to my own room and promised not to bother me. I wouldn't have it any other way, so I was pleased with the idea. My room was close to the children's and it constantly reminded me that my sole purpose in the house was to care for them.
My name is Samantha Powey, a graduate from the school of catering. I live with my husband and children in a little town called Kingsville. I run a restaurant, Sammy Fries, with the help of some dedicated and very wonderful employees. I have come a long way since I got married to Patrick over ten years ago. I have always wanted to share my story. Now, I'm doing just that, and I hope you find it interesting.
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To be continued.....