As the light pours in, I sigh and close my eyes. The sheets are white, the room tidy, quiet, perhaps too quiet. The nurse comes by from time to time, peaks inside, asks something. Sometimes I turn around and answer with a few words, others I keep quiet looking at the wave of purple that hangs from one side to the other on top of the tree that grows in the small garden that faces the west wing of the hospital.
I wish I was not going to die in a few months. It happened fast. I puked that night and the next one I fainted. My bones hurt after the fall and I felt this strange dizziness take over my head. I looked at that chart when they came. There were many of them. I was alone sleeping on my bed and looking at the ceiling, counting one, two, three.
I prayed with all my soul. I prayed to god even if I don’t know and I never believed in HIM. I promised him everything. I did,.But they crossed that door and I could see my skull and my rotting flesh hanging from their faces already.
I couldn’t hear all they said. I fainted or fell asleep or cried with a hauling voice and a terrible scream. “Metastasis” one said. I sank in the sheets and closed my eyes.
I thought of a green meadow and then I thought of a calm sea. It was warm and the water splashed the coast with a calm that made the sand oscillate back and forth with a quiet murmur.
I heard a shriek and then my mother’s voice broke the silence and I woke up. I felt her hands round my neck and her tears wet my cheeks and confuse with my own. “I am sorry” I said. And she replied with a sob, a small shriek and a tighter hug.
I woke up and surprised myself thinking about the classes I would take when the semester started. The summer would finish, the fall would come, and I would be back in college in a few weeks. I would run every morning and swim some others. I liked the smell of the woods at the end of the summer. The road coiled around the hill and if you followed it, the air would become thinner and thinner. I would stop at the top. The view of the valley below, and the few houses that made up the campus laid spread out in front of me.
I am 21 years old. I turned 21 last spring. They all gathered that night and threw a big party. We drank and sang and danced at “The Faust”, and came back crawling through the road to our dormitories. Laila was there. Laila was there. Every time I think of her, I feel a strange void inside. “What if … ?” I start thinking, “What if … ?” I think again, but I realize there are no more ifs for me. There is only one certainty, only one, and that isn’t love, or money, or power, or any of the other million dreams that filled my days before this bed was my home. It is a good bye.
I used to cry. I used to cry my soul out during the empty nights when the instruments that surround me hum with a quiet murmur, never interrupted by anything but distant steps. I cried many times in many sleepless nights. I cried until my tears realized they wouldn’t cure anything, they wouldn’t change anything, and they refused to come out.
What do I want now that I am lying here? Nothing. At the beginning I wanted Laila. After the diagnostic, she didn’t call me anymore, she hasn’t told me to be strong, to keep fighting. She knows I will die. It is perhaps too sad, too hard to love a life that is fading away. I wish I could live, to take her once to the top of the hill. To stand there and watch the valley at night, or dawn, or evening, or midday and just roll on the grass and feel the air, and hold hands, and look at each other and forget, forget there is a night that will eat us, forget there is a day when WE will be no more.
I wish I could forget. I wish with all my body, with all my strength I could forget the pain that is eating me inside, the pus that is spreading through my veins and devouring me slowly and surely. But I can’t. I used to think of so many things, I used to think of the future. I had so many dreams.
Now I think of nothing but the flow of my breath, the smell of my sweat, the pain of my bones. I used to think, and hell I thought of it many times, I could do it all. I could. I could. I could climb that cliff with my bare hands and no harness, I could run that marathon. John and me were going to start that company, we were going to hit it big time, we were. We were.
What does it matter anymore?. It doesn’t. I can only scribble in these pages. Only this voice matters now. Only this voice is what I have left, what will be left of me when I leave. I hope they read these notes, for it will be one day the only remnant of my voice, of my heart, and my words. I don’t want anything anymore. I don’t want that big house, and the sports car, I don’t want that yacht. I don’t want to retire on my very own lake house, and go fishing in my own boat, alone in front of a big wilderness of woods and mountains. I don’t need it anymore.
I enjoy myself looking through the window of my hospital room. I just want to climb that tree of purple flowers. I want to climb its branches and smell the wood and the pollen that falls from the purple of its petals. I want to climb and sleep on its branches, as I used to climb, 13 years ago, the trees my father planted in our backyard, and forget; forget there is a tomorrow that will never come.