In Her Last Hours

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
The final conversation between a man and a woman before the woman dies

Submitted: November 25, 2007

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Submitted: November 25, 2007

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I stopped the nurse nearest to me in search of directions, ‘Amy Watson?’ I asked her.
She pointed me towards the end of the corridor to a door on the right hand side, ‘Down there,’ she said.
I thanked her and walked on, down the crystal white corridor and the freshly cleaned floor. I stopped at her door, grasped the handle and slowly turned it left, it was cold and bit into my fingers. I pushed the door open, stepped inside, she lay on her back facing the window.
‘Hello Amy.’
Her head span around as she heard me speak, I could see her eyes light up at the sound of a visitor then fade away when she saw it was me, ‘You,’ she said slowly, ‘What’re you doing here?’
‘I thought I’d come to see you.’
She looked at me icily, but with curiosity, as if she had never quite understood me or any of my actions. ‘How did you even know I was here?’ she asked.
I shrugged, ‘I have my ways,’ I told her.
She continued her stare, I could feel her gaze try to pierce my shell but I knew from experience that she lacked that ability. So I humoured her for a moment, until I felt my legs hurt and I asked her if I could sit down.
She nodded, threw her eyes to a chair beside her bed, then turned her neck so her head faced the wall. I watched her closely, I knew she was struggling her way through a thousand thoughts, I could almost hear them in room, in the perfect calm where I sat.
Then she turned to me again, with that same searching look, repeated her question, ‘Seriously, why are you here Dan?’
I smiled, the smug smile of a man who knows the answers to the questions before they have even been asked, ‘I told you I’d always be here,’ I said to her, ‘Always.’
‘It’s been twenty-three years,’ she argued, ‘Look at you, you’re old and grey. And I can’t even remember the person I was back then, why would you come back now?’
I met her eyes, those still grey eyes that used to be so familiar, ‘I’m here when it counts, I’ve come back for the end.’
She turned away under my stare, nodded, bit her lip, gazed out of the window like a bird trapped in a cage. ‘You know,’ she said after a moment’s silence, ‘You’re the only one that’s come, out of all of those bastards, you’re the only one that’s come.’
‘Does that surprise you?’
‘Yes, yes it does. Out of all of them, you, the one I swore to myself I’d never talk to again, the one I thought was lost, you. You woulda thought that it would have been someone else, you woulda thought it would have been anyone but you.’
‘I told you none of them were ever worth it.’
She laughed, ‘Oh yes, yes, you did! You were always so smart, weren’t you Dan? So smart, so sly.’ She turned to me once more, ‘Is that why you came here, to gloat?’
I raised my eyes so I met her stare, ‘No.’
She turned away from my gaze again, as if it was unbearable, as if my truth hurt more than any other pain. She looked towards the window, starred longingly at the horizon behind the buildings, reached out with to it with her eyes, took a moment to absorb the sky and remember the world outside, to be their in her mind one final time. She started speaking, slowly, considering her words, facing the window and all those things she could never get back, ‘Fifty-eight years…’ she told me, ‘Fifty-eight years and I haven’t lived a single day.’
‘You lived many days…’
‘No, not properly, not like I should have. Not like a bird whose only limit is the sky. Oh how I wish I could have been a bird whose only limit was the sky… No, I haven’t lived at all. But I tell you, if I could have my time again…’ she paused, laughed to herself, ‘Isn’t it funny how we all wish for our time again, no one gets it right first time round. There’s so many things I never got to do…’
She turned to me again, this time her eyes rimmed with tears, ‘I’m dying Dan.’
I returned the gaze but could offer nothing more, ‘I know.’
‘Help me.’
I stopped to look at her, remember the life that once possessed her wrinkled old face, the world we shared and gave up long ago, ‘I can’t.’
‘What am I going to do?’
‘Nothing.’
She turned away, shook her head, wiped her tears, ‘I’m too old to cry,’ she told me, ‘Far too old to cry.’
‘Are you ever to old to cry?’
‘Yes. I am now… I’m not going to waste the time I’ve got left on tears. No… No way.’
‘How long have you got?’
She paused, raised her arm and pointed out of the window, ‘You see those high rise buildings over there, those pyramids of concrete stretching far higher than a man could ever climb? They told me I’ll never see the Sun again after it sinks behind their framework, I’ll struggle through the night and be gone by the dawn.’
‘Oh…’
There was another silence, I rested my eyes on her and she never took her’s from the window. Then she looked down, opened her mouth, had a sudden desire, ‘Tell me,’ she said, ‘What is it like outside?’
I stopped to consider the question, ‘Well,’ I began, ‘It’s a clear day, clear but cold. All the people are wearing gloves and scarves because the wind is sharp and cuts into their skin, children huddle around their mothers to escape the chill. But there’s not a cloud in the sky and Sun is bright, if you stop for a moment and let it sink in, you can feel its gentle touch warm your neck.’
She turned back to me, smiled, ‘It sounds beautiful.’
‘It is.’
‘I wish… I wish I could watch the Sun rise, just one last time. Watch it power over the hills, climb into the sky, flood the lands below it and pull the world out of its dreams. I wish I’d taken five minutes in all my life to think about how beautiful it is, because lying here in this bed I can’t remember at all.’
‘Maybe you’ll get that chance.’
‘I hope so, in all honesty, I hope so. - Why couldn’t I have been more like you Dan, why couldn’t I have listened to anything you said?’
‘Because even if you believed me you couldn’t have seen it, it takes more than knowing to know what it is.’
‘More than knowing? Huh, I never did understand you, I swear you always spoke in paradoxes… But in some strange and wonderful way it all still makes sense.’
‘Maybe.’
‘Tell me, what do you think he’ll make of me, when I get there and knock on his door, what do you think he’ll say? I value your judgement, do you think he’ll forgive me?’
‘I don’t know, I think you’ll know the answer to that question along time before I ever do.’
‘Do you forgive me Dan? Do you forgive me for everything I ever did?’
‘Yes.’
She smiled, looked up into my eyes one last time, I could tell that for the first time since I had known her she was truly happy, that she was at peace, ‘Well, that’s good enough me,’ she said.
She nodded, turned over, pulled the quilt around her body and wriggled her head into the pillow, ‘I’m tired Dan,’ she told me, ‘I think I will try and get some sleep. But promise me one thing? That you’ll stay here, you’ll look over me, until it’s all done, until it’s finished. I feel safe with you beside me…’
‘I promise.’
‘Thank you.’


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