Settling in the chair next to the hospital bed, she slips her big purple mitt into his furry blue paw and waits for the night to take her. His breathing was deep and gravely, a burr that started deep in his chest and rumbled outward; she’d grown used to it, over the years, and just listening to that growling purr put her in mind of sleep. Soon, she knows, he’ll start to talk in his sleep, as he always does. She waits for it, the unconscious smack of his lips followed by the low, groaning, drawn out “Coo-ookiee-ee…”
They had met years ago, while working in Hollywood. There was a golden arches just across the street from the studio lot, and she’d sneaked over to steal a milkshake. He had been there, fists full of those little dry wafers they passed off as cookies, terrorizing parents and thrilling children. She didn’t know what he saw in her—she was little more than a big purple blob with arms and legs back then. Before she knew it, he’d talked her back to his place to make her some cookies…for breakfast, it turned out. They’d been together ever since.
It was a quiet ceremony, mostly family; her parents, his parents, Uncle O’Grimacey whom she hadn’t seen in years, even Jim—neither of them had expected that, but she could tell that her big blue monster was touched he showed up. A cookie cake, naturally. After that their careers had kept them on their feet, busy schedules. She had only ever gotten work in television, and less and less of that lately, but he had managed a few films even with his health problems, plus the residuals—songs, merchandise, guest appearances. They’d done well.
The diabetes didn’t really come as a surprise, to either of them. They’d both had to adjust their eating habits. A “lifestyle change” is what the doctors and producers had called for, but it was so much harder for him. It was who he was. She still remembered him crying after the reviews, right after “a sometime snack.” Yet he kept at it. Fruits and veggies, anything that would crunch, but it wasn’t enough. His sugars would get too high, and he couldn’t manage it just with diet and exercise. He had always been active, but at his size, to get the weight off, it was hard.
The arrival of a night nurse interrupted her reverie.
“Sorry Mrs. G, just have to change his catheter.” The young woman said.
“Go right ahead, dear.” she said, reaching back for a protein shake.
“Coo-ookiee-ee…” he mumbled in his sleep.
The nurse frowned at that, looked like she might say something.
“Oh, it’s not what you think.” she said, big smile stretching from one side of her to the other, giving his paw a little squeeze. “That was his nickname for me. He always loved his Cookie.”
The nurse smiled and got back to work, turning back the sheets. One of the blue furry legs ended abruptly in a bandage-wrapped stump.