Copyright is held by the author.

SHE REACHES out for my hand. And I take it. It’s cold. I look over at her. She smiles. I smile back And I wonder if my vague twinges of discomfort are at all visible to her. There’s an explosion. The sound reverberates throughout the room. She leans in to me for a kiss. The orchestral score pumping throughout the speakers is sweeping. I think the film is reaching one of its earlier climaxes, but I’m not certain. Never really saw this one before.

Her lips are cold, but they warm-up with the contact. Surprisingly, it’s a very good kiss. Takes me by surprise. I sort of fall into it. And it encompasses me. MY heart rate goes up. And the music soars. Weird. At first I’d though that this wish might’ve been something she’d made for her dad or her family or whatever . . . but now I guess I’m realizing that it was just as much for her as it was for them.

She fans in and whispers in my ear over some bits of bad Hollywood dialogue. “Like that? It was my first.” I pull back and look at her with raised eyebrows. She smiles and chuckles, leaning in again, she says, “Romantic dramas on high-def. You can learn a lot from a screen kiss.”

Wow. She leans in. And somewhere the whole thing drowns out in my mind. The cancer. She’s got cancer. Not expected to make it through another year. Hell of a diagnosis.

I’d been trying to work it out . . . y’know. . . what would I have done if I found out three years back that I was going to die in the year. I would’ve lost it. I probably would’ve checked out early if you know what I mean. She’s strong. She’s very, very strong. And when the charity approached her about asking for a wish . . . she said she’d wanted this home theatre. And I thought she was doing it for me, y’know? Like she didn’t want to do what she did for her. . . she wanted to give me something to remember her by whenever they watched movies or whatever . . . but now here we are in the basement . . . and we’re able to have a kind of privacy in the house . . . the loudest, glossiest privacy that Hollywood will allow. I pull her into me with my arms. She’s cold. We’ll change that.