He run into that park again. Again running away from his coworker’s judging looks or gossips by the coffee machine. He was tired of all this bulshit George felt he was living in.
George had half an hour and a park for himself, he didn't count those few passersby, they were minding their own business and George tried to do the same. He sat at the park bench and began to relax with his eyes closed.
Along with the hum of car traffic he was able to hear the chiming of birds. That sound put a little smile on his face.
His perfect picture ruined a loud sneeze. George jolted up at that sound which really surprised him. He opened his eyes and found the source of it, next to him was sitting a bit smaller man than George. Wearing comfortable grey sweatpants and big blue hoodie. He sneezed again.
George sighed and went through his pockets. He found the tissues and handed it to the other man.
He sniffed „Thanks man”. A little smile showed on his face „Allergies"
George nodded and put his tissues back.
He took another look at him. And noticed a hospital wristband put around his hand. That was a bit strange to say at least- strange.
„Hope you didn't run away from some hospital”
The man looked at his wrist and chuckled „No, I'm here just for a walk”
„That's a relief" a silence fall between them.
„I'm George” he gave him a hand to shake.
„Richard” they both smiled looking into each others eyes. „You coming here often?”
„Everyday. I like to spend here my lunch break” he told him truthfully.
„I have to stay there for a week for a procedure. It would be nice to hang out here with you”
„Yes i think so too. I have to go now. But i guess see you tomorrow Richard"
They were continuing their meetings everyday of that week, except one day when Richard had the procedure but he came on the next day, telling that everything went fine. Soon the week was coming to an end and George learnt Richard didn't have a car so he was eager to give him a lift to his flat.
Richard invited him inside for a cup of tea.
„You know, i haven't told you everything”
George looked at him with his big eyes.
„It wasn't some small treatment”
George squeezed harder the steaming mug, his knuckles going white.
„I have a cancer. They couldn't remove all of it”
George put his hand on the kitchen table, his palm open waiting for Richard to put his. When their hands touched, George noticed the thin skin with visible veins underneath.
„I don't have much time left"
George's cheeks were wet with tears.
He came to Richard's flat the next day after his work. And that was the time when Richard told him about his one and only dream. To go to usa with a friend. George felt like he could be that friend. He was his friend.
„There is one problem George. I don't have a visa. And it can take weeks to get it. I- I don't know if...” his voice broke on that even if Richard tried to stay strong.
„I have sister in usa. It could be a bit easier with her help. But what about you?” George got quiet after those words and looked out of the window.
„Marry me" those two words left Richard staring at George with wide, blue eyes.
„What? No- We- George?” he couldn't form a simple sentence. George was braver than he thought.
„As my husband i can take you with me. I think this way it would be a matter of week and we will be in usa" George smiled at him and waited for an answer.
„I suppose" Richard still couldn't believe in what he had heard.
„So? Will you marry me?” George asked once again.
„Yes. Yes" it was unbelievable. Richard agreed to marry a man, a friend who he met a week ago.
Here he was again. George came to pick up his friend Richard. Who he was going to marry in an hour or so. In that moment it didn't seem real at all.
The car ride was... full of nerves. But they agreed and were ready to do it.
„What about the rings” George reminded himself about them in front of the registry office.
„Good i thought about it earlier” and Richard slipped off two rings from his hand. He handed one to George and the other put to his own pocket.
„Do you wanna hold hands?” he asked a bit shy.
„It will be my pleasure Rich"
Explaining to the receptionist that they had already booked a plane on their honeymoon. And they got engaged the previous night. They earned a witness in her who they needed to sign the marriage certificate.
Richard took George's last name and they left the building as a married couple of George Harrison and Richard Starkey Harrison. Before getting back to the car George kissed his cheek and they newlyweds drove off.
Back at Richard's flat George told him that his sister Louise was already taking care of their visas problem.
„What about your job Geo?”
„Oh i quit. I hate it anyway. Don't worry Ritchie. When we come back i will find something else" he send him an assuring smile.
„Ok then. We can go. Together”
Two days later they received the happy news. They can go to usa. Richard nearly screamed his head off when George phoned him that day. They agreed for the younger man to buy the plane tickets because Richard was paying for the major part of the trip.
On the new week they found themselves at the airport. An adrenaline rushing in their veins. They were excited, really excited.
„Are you ready?” George squeezed his hand.
„I've been ready my whole life"
At the beginning they were looking curiously out of the window. But soon Richard fall asleep on George's sholder. And to pull away his mind from ringing thoughts of worry he put some movie. But he was wondering anyway on how much his life changed in those last two weeks. If somebody told him that he was going to marry and fly to America George would laugh and not believe any word.
After the landing Richard rented them a camper of which George became a driver. It was convenience that way because sometime Richard was taking naps through the drive. They didn't do much really. They liked to pass the time by simple taking, about their lifes, where they were born, grow up. About their families, friends and so and so.
The more they were getting to know each other, the more they were comfortable around themselves. They discovered that they had a lot in common, George and Richard made good friends or rather a marriage.
George was driving mindlessly, quietly humming to some tune on the radio when he heard a click of a camera. He looked over at Richard and saw him snickering at the passenger seat with an old polaroid.
Most of the days were like that. George behind the steering wheel and Richard took the role of a cook. Even when it meant eating mac and cheese for three days. They didn't mind. They created a little domestic. Sleeping in one bed like a real marriage. It was only one bed anyway and Richard was shivering with cold so George cuddled him to keep him warm through the night.
They didn't have any particular place to go. If they liked a road or a name of a city they would go there. If people seemed nice and restaurant had nice food they would stay on those places.
They finally found it the next week. A place where they could settle for a while. It happened to be a campsite near the coast, it was few minutes on foot to get to the ocean. They felt right here.
George and Richard really understood each other. They accepted their differences, if they needed some time for themselves, to be alone. Richard was happy with reading books and just resting. George liked to play his guitar or taking a long walks by the ocean.
Sometimes they joined those things. Richard was reading with George next to him looking over his shoulder at the pages. Or walking hand in hand at the wet sand. Or George playing Richard to sleep.
Richard bought a board game and that was when they met their camper's neighbours. Kate with her two toddlers sons. They were inviting the boys for some evenings to give their mum some time for herself to rest and enjoy their holiday.
The next week arrived pretty soon. George didn't ask why they choose to stay in that place. Why Richard didn't want to see more of the country. He had some ideas why but wasn't able to voice them.
It was so early and so freezing but George made a promise to himself. He got up slowly and tucked Richard so he wouldn't get cold, he kissed his sleepy head. Dressed himself and headed to the shop.
On the way back he saw Kate and nodded at her with a silent greetings.
„Say hello to your husband” she smiled at him.
„We've- We've never told you. How?” George didn't have any idea how she might know their little secret.
„Oh George. You got up early. Probably sneaked behind his back and bought him muffins for breakfast. You won't fool me, man" she chuckled to herself.
„Yeah, guess i can't, Kate. Have a nice day” he waved and disappeared behid the door to their camper.
The days were going slow. Richard was more and more weak. Even if he didn't want to acknowledge it and George not wanting to face it. They just were together. Sometimes snuggled at the bed. Trying to bring some comfort and peace of mind.
George announced he was going to make a quick round to the shop. They were out of bread and he was going to be out just for a few minutes.
It happened. George should have feel ready but he wasn't ready at all for Richard's passing. It happened so quickly yet he felt like he knew his whole lifetime. George wasn't ready to say goodbye. Not when he didn't have a chance say a proper hello.
It was hard. That he couldn't put it into words. George felt like it wasn't suppose to be like that. They had some little time together. He had treasured every minute, every second.
He finally let himself cry. At first he sobbed like a little boy, at the end his body shaking violently with crying when the ashes met the ocean waves.
He was back to his old life. But it didn't seem like a life anymore. Everything was empty and hollow.
But sometimes he liked to look at the photos which Richard took. George waited few months to develop them, he couldn't bring himself to do it earlier. He also liked to look at his ring which he put now on a neck chain. It had been burning his fingers everytime he looked down at his hand. But the ring was now hung, closer to George's heart.
At his flat, on the opposite side of the table was sitting his old friend Paul. Both of them with cups of tea which was made by Paul but they were cooling off now, neither of them noticing their presence.
„You loved him, didn't you George?” it almost seemed like a statement for George. He looked at those brown eyes piercing him, looking for answers.
Him... His friend, his husband, his soulmate whom he only knew for 5 weeks. But it was more than his whole lifetime. It was more than he ever lived and experienced.
„I loved him. Of course I loved him”