When dementia comes, kiss me.

“And your lipstick stains are all I see, and you’ve left your earrings, darling I fear. So call me selfish, but I won’t let you leave. So come on back to where you belong.”
“By the pink and orange sunset we both loved, even without a giggling crowd — kiss me again.” (image © Jana Manalo)
My sweetest darling,

I am sorry, if amidst a thousand mantras of forget-me-nots, I’d wake up one day without remembering how your dear name used to linger endearingly, along the crests and troughs of my tongue. But come that moment, I plead you to kiss me, softly, and then eagerly.

Teach my mouth how to say it once again, for we both know that it is only your lips that knows its way through. Kiss me softly, and then eagerly.

Kiss me until a spark of recognition appears in the brown of my eyes. Yet still, kiss me softly until I close them.

Kiss me, until I’m moaning and gasping for air— like our first night, a few hours after we said our shares of I do’s. Dress me up if you must, in my old-aged wedding dress with some of its laces already in loose threads, and you in your browning button-up shirt. Walk me to the beach and let me feel your hands intertwined with mine once again, or carry me in your arms if I couldn’t anymore.

Then, by the pink and orange sunset we both loved, even without a giggling crowd — kiss me again, like it’s the first time you did, after I’m finally proclaimed as your loving wife.

Kiss me in all the ways that you can.

My love, I may have forgotten, but as you kiss me I know my heart would plunge into yearning madness. Your lips would be alarm bells that’d be nudging at my whole being. And though I may not come back to you instantly, I promise to find it within myself to fight the sickness that’s consuming me.

Kiss me darling, softly, and then eagerly. And even if through it all I’d still won’t remember your name, I’d kiss you.

For you know it is only you and your lips I’d been aching all my whole life for.

Kiss me sweetheart, softly, and then eagerly. Please do until you find the woman you loved — afraid and hiding in between the caves of her disease-consumed mind. She may have forgotten how to say the words, but know she is in love with you, always and forever, all and just the same.

Kiss me. I promise that soon after, I’d be fighting.

And only you, love, would be the one to feel that it is finally, and truly, me

— back home to you.

It is I, and my heart beats for you.