She always pushed me. When I told her that I’d never eaten raw oysters before, we had to try them. I was skeptical. I didn’t believe in aphrodisiacs. Still, the upscale grocery store that we were frequenting just happened to be offering them among their free samples. I was trapped.
“It’s fate!” She said, with a smile on her face. She sounded positively excited. “They taste like the ocean.”
We walked up to the fishmonger, shucking oysters for the people in line and held up two fingers. He nodded and pulled two unidentifiable lumps from a bucket of ice.
I rolled my eyes. I remained skeptical. A few skillful passes with the knife, and there were two oysters on the half shell staring up at the two of us. She picked up one and waited for me to pick up mine. She gave me a few quick instructions, then before I knew it I was eating a raw oyster.
The smell of the salt air, and the sand and bits of seaweed mingled together on my tongue. I felt the grit of sand between my back teeth, then swallowed.
She was right, it did taste like the ocean. I conceded that on occasion, she did have good ideas and I was a fool to doubt her. She laughed in victory and took my hand.
Three hours later, we were back in The House. I had the master bedroom with its own bathroom. In cases like this, it was a blessing. I rubbed her back and winced as I watched her body convulse over the toilet.
“Hey, you don’t think it was the oysters, do you?” I tried not to laugh as I said it. I failed. A small chuckle escaped from my lips.
She slowly turned her head to face me. She had to breathe between words. “Don’t. Even–“
“–I love you, you know that, right?” I smiled as widely as I could.
She never got to reply as a final shudder welled up from her stomach. She turned back quickly as I held her hand and squeezed. She slowly stood up with my help, and washed up.
Just as slowly, I helped her into bed. She closed her eyes and I smoothed back her hair. I kissed her forehead and got up to leave. Her hand found mine. She asked, in a soft whisper, where I was going.
I squeezed her hand. I wasn’t going anywhere.
“It’s time to make tea.”