She dipped the tip of her big toe into the placid pool and watched the concentric circles glide across the surface. Her head tilted to the side as the tiny little black fish swimming in the pool nibbled at her skin. The warm smile that appeared brought tears to my eyes. I swallowed the lump in my throat.
"I thought you'd like it," I said.
"Oh, I do!" she said. Her deep brown eyes shimmered as they turned to meet mine. "Thank you."
I fought every impulse to look away--seconds so precious would cost too much. "I-I'm sorry."
A tear slid down my cheek. And then another. I blinked them away. I needed to see her face. Her lips. The supple cheeks that I longed to caress. Even the rounded tip of her nose. I needed to memorize it--to keep it so close as to let it become a part of me.
"It's okay, darling."
I shook my head. "I'm not going to--I can't be okay."
Her smile softened, "But you will." She looked away. Her head fell back as she let the cool trade winds toussel her hair. The stars danced in her pupils with a thousand pinpoints of light. When her eyes found mine again my heart skipped a beat--the same way it had so many years ago when we'd first met.
We'd been so young, then. So full of life. I took a deep breath. "Don't ever leave me."
She wrapped her arms around me. Our lips pressed tightly together. I held her as though I would never lose her again.
She whispered gently in my ear. "I love you."
Her warm tears intermingled with my own as time began to fall away. The cool touch of the breeze faded out. The muted moonlight sucked the twinkling stars into an unconscious black. I held onto her as long as I could, and then even the heavenly sensation of her skin dulled.
_ _ _
When I opened my eyes only the tears were still there. Flourescent beams replaced the beautiful moonlight. Heat pumping through the airducts took the place of the island breeze. There was no pond. No fish. No trees.
"Mr. Salazar," said the nurse. "I'm sorry, but the transmission window has passed. The impulses in her brain just faded away. I need you to sit up, now. Can you do that for me?"
She helped me into a seated position and peeled back the nueral trasmitters attached to my head. I ignored the litany of other instructions and tried to remember those last moments. My wife lay peacefully in the hospital bed across the room. Pushing myself up, I shuffled to my wife's side, and took her hand in mine.
"Sir? Did the location you selected appear? Did the neural transmission generate the proper memory? Were you able to communicate with her before she passed?"
I leaned down, kissed my wife's forehead, and whispered back,
"I love you, too, my dear."