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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo: Chapter 60

SIX YEARS LATER, AFTER CELIA and I had spent more than a decade together on the beaches of Spain, after Connor had graduated from college and taken a job on Wall Street, after the world had all but forgotten about Little Women and Boute-en-Train and Celia’s three Oscars, Cecelia Jamison died of respiratory failure.

She was in my arms. In our bed.

It was summer. The windows were open to let in the breeze. The room smelled of sickness, but if you focused hard enough, you could still smell the salt from the ocean. Her eyes went still. I called out for the nurse, who had been downstairs in the kitchen. I think I stopped making memories again, in those moments when Celia was being taken from me.

I only remember clinging to her, holding her as best I could. I only remember saying, “We didn’t have enough time.”

It felt as if by taking her body, the paramedics were ripping out my soul. And then, when the door shut, when everyone had left, when Celia was nowhere to be seen, I looked over at Robert. I fell to the floor.

The tiles felt cold on my flushed skin. The hardness of the stone ached in my bones. Underneath me, puddles of tears were forming, and yet I could not lift my head off the ground.

Robert did not help me up.

He got down on the floor next to me. And wept.

I had lost her. My love. My Celia. My soul mate. The woman whose love I’d spent my life earning.

Simply gone.

Irrevocably and forever.

And the devastating luxury of panic overtook me again.


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