Chase held out his hand for me to take it. I looked into his eyes, expecting the warm sparkle that occupied the deep blue sea I looked into for 14 years. Instead, I saw nothing but fear. It sent shivers down my spine. I drew an "I" in the palm of his hand, so he'd know it was me. He looked terrified in his hospital bed. I know he'd rather be home.
Home. What was home now?
"Bells," he called out to me, his body language relaxing.
"I'm here, Chase," I told him. At least he remembered who I was. I smiled at him, even though I knew he couldn't see it. He liked it when I smiled. I reached into the bag I brought and pulled out a glass jar of sugar-white sand. I handed it to him, saying,
"Just for you, Chase, all the way from Pensacola Beach, Florida." He had dreamed of traveling there. He had shelves and shelves of books on beaches. It was all he ever read about. Posters covered his walls of happy beach-goers, and he told me of the dreams he had about one location- Pensacola Beach in Florida. It had the whitest sands on the planet. After all that's happened, I knew it was the one thing that would make him happy.
He ran his hands over the jar, fumbled with the lid, and reached into the jar, feeling the sand. A smile broke out on his face, a beam of light onto a dark ocean. A sunrise over a desert. It was the most beautiful thing in the world to me. Chase was the one thing I had in the world; it was like an anchor to hold onto after your universe shatters around you. Chase was my rock.
I stayed late into the night in his hospital room. When he fell asleep, I carefully placed the jar of sand on the little 2-row shelf we had temporarily put in his room. I placed it gently next to the other memoirs we had collected, together: An orange earth-y rock from the Grand Canyon, a smooth river stone, perfect for skipping, we found in a lake in Colorado, a little glass butterfly we got in a cheap gift shop in Seattle, and now the jar of sand. Four pieces of Chase's world, the four corners that held his world together. Junk to one person, priceless to another. I turned away from the half-occupied shelf to look at Chase peacefully sleeping. I made sure to watch his chest go up and down, his breathing like a rhythm. I left the hospital and went back to my apartment. I fell into an easy sleep, dreaming of a turtle sailing through the night sky. Why was that so familiar to me?
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