Fiction · Short Story

Before I Leave

Note: This post contains something morbid and a rather sensitive topic. It you would find it offensive or whatever, you may refrain from reading it. Readers’ discretion is advised.

2nd Note: This entry was originally posted on 11 October 2012.


“NEVER LET GO,” He whispered to her as he held her soft hands now turning cold as another night was spent in the lonely room which reminded both of them, eventually she will and have to.

“I will try. However, I won’t promise it,” She replied getting weaker and weaker after each day she needed to face the fact that her body was getting more and more fragile. “But, one thing, I want you to promise me,” she paused to take a breather before continuing on with her feeble statement, “be happy without me.”

He suddenly lifted his gaze at her eyes from her hands which he held tight for the past hour. “I can’t, and you know that.” Her eyes were different from what he used to see whenever he stared at her. Her ocean blue eyes have lost its spark but he still had the way to find it tantalizing. He always finds everything about her captivating.

“But—”

Before she could reply, he kissed her lips softly careful not to budge the tube that currently held her life at the moment.

With only the small amount of moonlight illuminating the room, he lay down beside her. He held her tight which seemed like he wouldn’t let go. He could feel her tremble but she relaxed after hearing him whisper sweet nothings in her ear. They cherished every single second lying beside each other. Silence filled the air, all of which at first was comfortable. But it turned into breathing, strong breathing which came from her mouth. He stood up from the bed and tried not to panic. He told her to relax whilst he shall call the nurse, but a cold but soft hand touched his wrist.

He looked at her and wondered why. She said in her fragile tone, “No. Stay. Stay with me.”

“I need to call the nurse. You’re going to be okay. Everything will be fine.” He stated a little louder than normal to convince her, but also trying to convince himself.

She still catches her breath whilst telling him, “You’ll be okay. I’ll be okay. This is a better choice. I don’t want you to see me like this. Hopefully, in another life, I’ll be stronger; stronger than I could ever be. Please be happy for me.” She still manages to smile at him like nothing wrong is going on and nothing wrong is about to happen.

He looked sorrowfully at her eyes, noticing the bags under it. But for him, she never failed to be beautiful. “How can I be happy if my happiness is being with you?”

She tried her best to hide the tears she had been dying to shed, with a smile that was assuring him she shall be alright, “Come here and feel this. I’ll be okay.” She held her hand to her chest motioning for him to feel that beat.

He went near her and felt her heart beating as relaxed as before, and he couldn’t help but sob quietly.

“I won’t wish above to turn back the time; because the short period of being with you has been enough for me; more than enough to be honest. I want you to live like how you used to. I want you to go on with your life. I want you to be happy. And before I leave, I want you to promise me that you’ll find the one for you. ”

He felt her hand loosen her grip from his. He lifted his gaze to her eyes, déjà vu at its best. Only this time, her ocean blue eyes couldn’t be seen for they were closed and her lips pulled up into a smile; a smile which told him she was just in a peaceful slumber. The only difference: there was no waking up.

The monitor beat continuously and a straight green line was present. She was gone and left him forever.

The night of her death was the worst night of his life. He arrived to his flat with bloodshot eyes and couldn’t stand straight. He was holding a bottle whilst carelessly entering the key at the doorknob to open the door.

“Why?” He shouted when he got into the room whilst he drank from his bottle. “Why now? Now, that I’m ready to live with you for my whole life.” He got something from his pocket and tears immediately stream down his face. In his hand, he held the ring he was supposed to give her a month ago when they both knew the most devastating information they never thought it could change their lives.

 

~before I leave~

 

HE PACED BACK and forth in the living room of his flat. Tonight, he was sure that she would agree with staying with her. He shall kneel in front of her and have the happiest night of their lives.

The phone rang three times before she answered, “Hello.”

He became immediately worried with the tone she used. It wasn’t like the cheerful voice he used to hear; instead it was a weak, exhausted tone. “Babe, are you okay?”

She tried to change her tone back to normal but slightly failed, “Yes. Yes, I am. I’m just knackered in the Uni. It’s last year and all, but it just turns harder and harder.”

“Enjoy your break time. I know your paper is due today but I saw it and I know it’s good. Actually, it isn’t good. It’s great!” He assured her through the phone.

“Thanks. By the way, I’ve got to tell you something tonight.”

“Me too. I can’t wait for you to come here tonight.”

“Okay.” She replied in a frail tone once again.

“Oh, come on, Babe. Cheer up! These past couple months you’ve been down. I know studies are getting harder and harder, but you’ll get past it. You’re a smart girl. In fact, the smartest I ever knew.” He tried to comfort her as best as he could.

“Yeah. I need to go now. I love you, always remember that.”

“I love you, too.”

With that she hung up and that left him wonder why her girlfriend of two years has become this recluse for the past couple of months.

What was she about to say to her? Was it about living with him after her graduation? But why was there blatant loneliness in her voice?

He pushed away the negative thoughts and prepared for the night to come. Instead of taking her to a fancy restaurant, he decided to prepare a nice candlelit dinner for the two of them in his flat.

She doesn’t like extravagant dinners, anyway.

She arrived at around quarter to six that night with weariness evident in her features. He quickly stood up from the living room couch and shut down the television. He approached her and kissed her lips with deliberate longing. He saw the exhaustion in her pale skin and lonely eyes.

“Are you okay?” He instantaneously comforted her.

He received a shrug and a small, weak smile from her. He led her to the dark dining room and there she saw a table for two with romantic candles lit on the centre of the table. Instead of seeing her excitement, she became more drained and couldn’t help but sob into tears.

“What’s wrong, dear? Don’t you like it?” He wondered frenziedly.

She looked at him with nervousness and spoke with a faint crack, “I… I think we should… we should… break up.” The last two words came as a mumble but he completely heard her.

He tensed but rapidly panicked, “What… what have I done? Have I been cold? Don’t you love me anymore?”

She immediately replied, “No. No. You’re… You’re the best I’ve ever had.”

“Then why? Why will you break up with me? After I’ve decided that we could be together now? You’re graduating college in two weeks! We’re going to share this flat together, you can live with me forever!” He broke into tears after confessing his proposal to her.

More tears started to flow her eyes especially after hearing the last word that came from his mouth. “There is no forever for us.”

“How could you say that? After all we’ve been through! Don’t you love me anymore?”

She hesitated to answer but replied with the best response she could give him, “I… I slept with someone.”

Nevertheless, he could see right through her eyes. He knew from the start she was a terrible liar. “No. I know you wouldn’t do that. Tell me what’s wrong. And we’ll face it together. I’ll be here for you, forever, babe,” He enveloped her into a warm embrace which eventually, she tried to reject.

“Stay away from me! I can’t be with you forever. Forever is an imaginary word made for fictional movies and love stories. It is not real. Grow up!” With these words, she shed more tears which made him hugged her more and soothe her from whatever difficulty she was facing.

“I can’t bear to see you like these, hun. It hurts me a lot to see you so weak.”

“Then leave me. I don’t want you to see me like this, anyway.” Her voice came up with a faint crack as she sobbed into his chest.

“It might hurt me to see you like this, but you need to know that I’ll be here no matter what. It hurts me more to not see you at all.”

“Promise me you’ll be happy. Promise me you’ll get over me.”

He escaped from the hug and looked contemplatively into her eyes, “What are you talking about?”

She stood up from his lap and yelled, “You must try to accept it. Accept that forever is not a real word. Accept that forever doesn’t exist. It will never exist for the two of us.”

He stood up, “Then, tell me what made you believe that. Why can’t you stay with me here?”

“Why can’t I stay with you here? Okay. I’m going to stay with you. If you really want it, I’m living with you here; for the last month of my life. I would like to spend it with the love of my life.”

He looked at her with wonder totally not understanding what she’s talking about.

“For the past two months, I’ve been going to the doctor. I’m not going to live longer, babe.” She tried to force a smile, she failed nonetheless.

“B-but—”

“Stage IV – lung cancer.”

 “How did I not know?”

“When I… I told you I can’t be visited in the dorm of my Uni, I… I was i-in the hospital. I refused to take chemotherapy for I want to spend the last month of my life being healthy as I feel and being… with YOU.”

 

 

~before I leave~

 

THE MEMORIES OF her hurt him the most. From the day she met her when she was a freshman in high school teaming up with him in the intramurals and he was a sophomore; to the confession of feelings for her in the hallway in front of all students when he was a junior. That same day, she said yes. He didn’t fail to reminisce their late night sneaking out to watch the stars.  That same day when he promised her they would meet again in the Uni after a year when he graduated whilst she was still an incoming senior. Everything about her came back to him and he couldn’t help but broke more tears.

Before he came home, her mum talked to him saying how sorry she was for keeping her ailment a secret. It was her request not to tell him at once, her mum made him know.

She also let him know that her daughter’s funeral was about to happen in three days for they will wait for their relatives from the other state. And what made him weaker was when her mother requested him to speak a eulogy in the funeral.

He snapped out of his thoughts and drank more from the bottle. He walked to the balcony of his flat on the 7th floor.

He shouted her name in the air and kept on asking her why she needed to leave too soon, and how she could manage to smile whilst leaving him.

He couldn’t take it anymore. He tried to calm down but realized he couldn’t live without her. He threw the ring as far as he could in the air.

He shouted from 70 feet above the ground, “I hope you understand, but you are my life. Without you, I can’t live anymore. You changed me, babe, you know that. I was a jock and bad boy until we became a team in that intramurals. I’ll see you soon. I want you to know that before I leave.”

With those words, he found himself in the air falling from the 7th floor of the building creating a joke of his life but this time, it was true when he closed his eyes with a number of people running to him with faint screams making it the last sight he had saw and the last sound he had heard.

-fin-

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