Andrea stared up at Johnson’s face and shrugged. There was nothing left to say. Johnson placed his hand on her shoulder to reassure her; he felt an emptiness he had never felt before.

Andrea stared quietly outside into the garden through the glass door. She was numb on the inside but staring at the bougainvillaea and the blooming rose bushes gave her a sense of calm that helped her feel again ever so slightly.

She hadn’t been feeling anything much the past months. It was a sensation she hadn’t had in almost three years. She hated not feeling because Johnson would have to put his plans on hold again to ensure she got better.

“Can I get you something to drink? Maybe we can go into the garden with some lemonade or freshly squeezed orange juice?”

Andrea nodded limply.

“Ok, great, give me a few minutes, and we can go outside!” Johnson was trying his best to inject energy into their conversations. It kept him sane and hopeful and warmed up the coldness he received from Andrea.

He always fought the urge to look back at the “good old days”, when Andrea was full of life and ideas. She was always creating new things with her hands; little trinkets and, some days, carved wood art; others, she was running around reinjecting life into businesses.

What happened gradually but felt almost instantaneous. Andrea just stopped taking calls from the businesses flooding her business line. She initially asked her assistant to reschedule calls, then soon let her assistant go and disconnected the business line. It was business suicide being inaccessible.

But they both knew this day would come again. Andrea had stopped taking her medication and felt her mojo was back. She didn’t seem to listen to her doctor’s advice that dysthymia was a lifelong journey. She needs to manage it with medication and therapy, which she had also stopped two months ago.

“Here we go, honey!” Johnson handed a fresh glass of orange juice to Andrea. Andrea nodded and perked up for a second; Johnson felt his heart skip a beat. Hope.

Andrea sipped on her juice.

“Mmmmhhhh! So good, baby, thank you for loving me even when I struggle to do it myself.”

Johnson kissed her on the forehead as they leaned into the couch, looking into their garden from the living room in silence as they cuddled.