Finale to a Sunrise

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Edits incoming

Submitted: May 03, 2016

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Submitted: May 03, 2016

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Finale to a Sunrise

Two weeks to December 21, the date of the end of my voyage across Acheron. I glanced around both my safehouse and my prison. For three months, I languished in this hospital, grasping at recovery but never succeeding. Every night, I would tell myself, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” until now. Now, the doctors have sealed my doom, and I accepted it.

Across the room, a woman, at the last stage of AIDS sat upright on her hospital bed, staring out the window. Her star-like eyes shined with an unfailable optimism. She held on, if she could with her skeletal frame, to an almost romantic belief that all will turn out alright, or so she presented herself. In contrast to this facade of optimism, the floating wistfulness of her soft voice betrayed her final resignation to the reality of mortality.

Her voice flowed towards me, out of the blue, “How long do you have from now?”

“Two more weeks.”

“That is my life expectancy as well, although dying in winter is hardly a sunny thought.”

As the pink, warm sun slowly abandoned her pale face in rueful regret, a moment of silence solemnly honored the ill-timed jest. Gradually, like a leaky dam, our laughter trickled through, then burst open in glorious freedom. Without any sincere vestige of guilt, she apologized repeatedly, obviously too pleased with her own wit. She leaned forward suddenly, eyes brightening as she asked me another question.

“Tell me,” she questioned. “What would you do if you could live again?”

“I would wish to see the aurora. What about you?”

“See one more sunrise without being on these pills and meds.”

“What is your biggest regret?” She then asked.

“Quitting again.”

“Why do you say that?”

“I have given up music, college, art, and now life.”

I could see the twinkling of stars in her laughter towards my answer.

“It is only fair I return the question.”

“Drawing too many hearts.”

Night fell on that thought, as we both mused on our fates.

- - - - - -

Fixing his glasses, the doctor informed me, “Sir, I’m pleasantly astonished by your situation right now. Your condition seems to be improving rather than deteriorating, as we would think it would. This is certainly a very curious case. We will monitor your condition these next few days. Be hopeful!”

One week to shore, or has Fortuna blessed me?

“Promise me something,” she said to me.

“Yes?”

“Find something to live for.”

- - - - - -

One day to shore. With melancholy sorrow, the moon with the stars caressed the hospital room with their soft light. I have not told my friend, and roommate, of my improving condition, as I did not quite believe in it myself. Even so, she seemed to be deteriorating rapidly and I did not want to leave her in her last days. I felt an obligation towards her as her only friend. Her family and friends abandoned her as one labelled her a shame and the other named her a whore. I returned to my post in my room and saw her smiling out the window. As I looked at her, I saw she no longer held to that romantic belief of optimism nor had she the active wind chimes in her eyes.

A delicate teardrop twinkled on the floor as she whispered, “Commit suicide with me.” However, after a hesitation, she breathed with a regretful smile, , “I shouldn’t ask that of you, I’m sorry.”

The answer came out of my mouth, nearly without hesitation, “Alright.”

I helped her get off her bed as her physical condition had weakened severely since two weeks ago. We made our way to the hospital counter step by step to sign our waivers and leave the icon of both hope and despair, rage and regret.

We left the hospital at around five in the morning and headed immediately to the mountain near our town. It took nearly two hours to make it to a prairie on the side of the mountain, from where we could see the nightly performance of the Milky Way. I laid her on her back on a tree towards the horizon, then sat beside her. For a moment before the sun rose, the nebulous, scattered noctilucent clouds sang softly with silver light as the unseen sun beyond the horizon painted the sky with purple, burgundy, crimson red, and orange. Finally, the star of the show appeared and greeted its audience with a warm burst of pinkish orange.

She turned her head slowly at me and with her fading, hazel eyes looked directly into my eyes, “One more day?”

I held her gaze and nodded slowly.

Smiling warmly at me with tears in her eyes, she let her breath join the celestial beings, which faded out of sight one by one.


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