Her Last Minute

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story about a girl, Alice, who has a grandmother in the hospital dying and had a friend, Jake, trying to help her get through it.

Submitted: April 27, 2010

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 27, 2010

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A A A


Her last minute

By: Addy Capito

 

The smell hit me as soon as I walked through the doors. Hospitals always had that certain smell to them, the smell of newly washed crisp white sheets, and the blue latex gloves that doctors always wore, and then, of course, there was death. I don’t know if there is an actual smell to death. Not like dead rotted people in the ground. No, it was more like something that stood out, something that seemed wrong and out of place.

Now, if somebody asked me what I thought death meant, I don’t think I could give an answer, because honestly that question has many answers to it. I personally right now think death means: mourn, sadness, grief, or just a lonely feeling that you get when you know something is gone. But I could also say that death means happiness for some one who just left because you know they aren’t in pain, know they are happier and in a better place, and you know that the person is in a better place.

“Come on, Alice. Make sure to stay behind me and hold on to your sister’s hand. I don’t want her getting lost in here,” my dad said to me as he grabbed his laptop bag and started walking. I rolled my eyes after him and then snatched up Gracie’s hand and dragged her beside me while trailing my dad. I had never known there could be so many doctors and nurses in one place, but then again, I didn’t come to hospitals very often. It seemed to me like all the doctors and nurses hung out in the hallway and most of them were just standing there hanging out. We finally made it to my grandma’s room, I didn’t know what they were doing in there, maybe some kind of test or giving her some medicine or maybe she was just resting. Part of me was curious to what was going on in her room, and part of me didn’t think I want to know.

I took a look around the hallway right outside her room. It was just like any other room, there were a few chairs scattered here and there, and two benches pushed up against the wall. The door was the same as any other too, light blue trimming against the off white walls.

“Daddy, where’s mommy?” Gracie asked my dad as I let go of my grip on her tiny hand. She ran over to dad, her Dora backpack bouncing behind her with her dirty blonde curls on her head. She was only in kindergarten so she was really into Dora. She even had her Dora shirt on to match her purple shorts. Unlike Gracie, I just had on jeans with my school t-shirt that said Hillside Cheer and my yellow flip-flops and my bangs were pulled back and the rest of my blonde hair was hanging around my face.

“She’s in the room with mamaw, she’ll me out in just a minute,” my dad replied to Gracie as he took a seat in on of the chairs by the door. I hadn’t realized, until I looked at him when he sat down, how tired he actually looked. He had bags under his eyes and looked like he just wanted to lie down and sleep. I started to feel bad for him, I’m sure he hadn’t gotten much sleep lately, even though It was my mom’s mother in the hospital, he had become fond of her when they met back when my parents got engaged. Everyone had a liking toward mamaw, she was funny and nice and she gave the best hugs when you really needed one.

“But daddy, I really want to go in there with mommy,” Gracie whined back.

“Gracie, please don’t act like this, I promise she will be out in just a minute,” my dad said in the same tired voice. He ran a hand over his short brown hair, and stopped when he reached the back of his head and then leaned back against the wall.

“Daddy!” Gracie crossed her arms over her chest and made a face that I knew instantly. I really didn’t want her to cry right now in front of everyone, because when she cried she screamed, loudly.

“Hey, Gracie, did Mrs. Wood give you any homework today? Come over here and I’ll help you with it,” I told Gracie. I leaned off my spot on the wall and passed my dad to reach the bench across the hall. The clack! sound my flip-flops were cut off as I plopped down onto the bench. Gracie, right behind me, shrugged off her backpack and handed it to me as she climbed her way up to sit beside me. When she finally made her way up, I started to open her backpack.

“Gracie, what color folder is your homework in?” She seemed to hesitate before answering

“Umm, the blue one,” she finally told me. I quickly grabbed the blue folder and a pencil then sat her backpack down on the floor beside me. I started to open the folder to grab out the papers she need when she snatched the folder and told me she would get it out, I willingly let her, not wanting to cause another fit. Once she got situated, with her folder in her lap and paper on top, she talked while she wrote.

“I have to write my first and last name 5 times each,” she told me. She seemed to be talking more to herself than to me. It surprised me a little when she turned to face me and ask me a question. “Did you have to do this when you were in kindergarten, Al?” she asked me. Sometimes Gracie and my mom would call me Al, just because it was shorter than Alice, but my dad never would, I asked him about it once, but he never told me.

“Umm, I’m sure I did,” I said to answer her question. She seemed pleased with my answer, and turned back to do her homework. I honestly didn’t remember doing that in kindergarten- I didn’t remember doing a lot of things- It seemed like it was so long ago, but I knew it was only 10 years, because I was only in the 10th grade. I took a quick look at Gracie’s homework and it looked really good, well, for a kindergartener it did, except for one thing.

“Grace your-“I got cut off because just then my mom walked out of the room and Gracie tossed her papers into the floor and ran over to my mom.

“Mommy!” Gracie wailed as she ran towards my mom.” Your back!” My mom picked up Grace and held her on her hip as she asked her how her day went. I started picking up Gracie’s mess while she had her conversation with my mom. I could hear part of what they were saying to each other.

“I was never gone sweetie,” my mom told Gracie in a soft voice.

“I know, but I missed you.”

“I missed you, too.” My mom kissed Gracie’s head and then sat down in a chair beside my dad. I shoved Gracie’s things into her bag and sat back on the bench. I leaned my head back and just sat there and thought for a minute. Thought about how much easier this would be if it never happened. Or if my mamaw would get better, but we all knew that wasn’t going to happen, she had lung cancer, and they told us form the start that she was not going to get better, and if she did it would be a miracle. And then I started thinking about how much easier this would be if I had a friend to help me get through this. A friend like Hailey or Jake.  Jake had been there for me since kindergarten - I had always hoped Gracie would find a friend like Jake - and Hailey had been there for me since 4th grade, when we met and I got invited to her cheetah girl’s party. My thoughts were soon interrupted by my phone vibrating in my pocket. I grabbed it out and looked at the screen. It was from Jake.

Hey. Are you at the hospital again? Need someone to hang out with?

I thought of how much I would like to have him come up here, how much I thought I needed a friend right now. I was about to reply back to him, but I decided that I better ask my parents first. I was about to yell across the hall at my mom but she was to busy holding Gracie. So I looked over at my dad. He was on his laptop, I should have figured, he was always working if he wasn’t sleeping.

“Hey, dad?” I yelled across the hall. I expected him to look up from his laptop, but his eyes were still glued to the screen. I had to yell for him a few more times before he finally looked up.

“What is it Alice?” I could hear the tiredness in his voice.

“Can Jake come up here, so I can have someone to hangout with?” I asked him. I knew my dad had always liked Jake, he came over a lot when I was little and just got used to it then. Jake was always someone that my dad could watch the game with or talk about cars with, but I remember the one time that my dad told me why he really liked Jake, He told me that he liked him because, he never tried to pull anything stupid.

“I don’t care, Alice. But I want you all staying close by, you can’t be running all over the place in here,” he told me. He sounded almost mad, but then I realized it was frustration in his voice.

“Of course you don’t care.” I said under my breath. I was almost sure he couldn’t hear me.

“What did you say?” He yelled across the hall.

“Nothing, dad. Nothing at all,” I said so quietly I was sure he couldn’t hear me, and I was sure he didn’t care if he could or not. All he wanted to do was get back to his pretty little laptop.

And, with that, I sent Jake a message back with one simple word.

Please?

I laid my head back against the wall and waited for his reply. A few minutes later I heard my phone vibrate, the sound that had come so familiar with me.

Be there in 10 minutes.

I flipped my phone closed without typing a reply, and shoved it back in my pocket and laid my head back with my feet stretched out on the bench in front of me. I wished time could pass by faster, wish this would all be over. I thought I was about to drift off to sleep when I realized my mom was calling my name. I opened my eyes and turned to look at her.

“What?” I asked, knowing my annoyance and tiredness was showing in my voice. All I wanted to do was lay and rest until Jake got there and I would have someone to hang out with.

“Do you want to go to the cafeteria with me and Gracie?”

“I’d rather eat mamaw’s stew surprise than eat in that nasty old hospital food,” I told her. I had always hated the hospital food. I still remembered the time when I was little and my mom made me eat some of it, and I have refused to eat anything else from there.

She gave me a look that almost seemed like she was mad, but I didn’t know. Then she picked Gracie up and started their way towards the cafeteria. I had closed my eyes for another minute after they left, when I heard my dad yelling at me. I didn’t think he would even talk to me since he was busy with with his work. This surprised me.

“Yeah, dad?” I mumbled across the hall.

“Why are you acting like this with your mom, you know what she’s going through and your not helping,” he told me.

“What am I supposed to do to ‘help’, dad? I haven’t done anything!” I almost yelled across the hall. He was making me mad and he knew it.

“That! That is exactly what you doing! Your attitude needs to change, Alice. Why are you acting like this all of the sudden? You never act like this.”

“Your little Alice has grown up dad. But you would never know because you’re never home! You’re always at work or your out on a business dinner. And when you’re not doing any of those you are on that stupid little precious laptop of yours doing something else. And I’m acting like this because I still don’t get the point of why you’re here if all you do is sit out here and work. If you’re going to do that then just go back to your office, because I sure that is where you want to be, especially much more than here!” I was on the verge of tears, but I didn’t care I was standing up now yelling at him from across the hall. He looked up from his laptop and I could see the guilt in his eyes.

“Alice, I didn’t realize that’s how all of you felt. I could try and come home earlier. And I’m here to give your mom support, because what she is going through is-“ he go cut of by my yelling.

“Dad, we all know that you wouldn’t come home early, and even if you did then you would be on you laptop the whole time! And you call sitting out here working support? I’m giving her more ‘support’ than you are! I actually care what’s going on with mamaw, and I thought you did too, but now I’m honestly not sure. Have you even gone into see her once? I know I have, and I bet you still won’t and if you did you would bring your laptop with I bet, wouldn’t you?” I felt a tear slip from my eye and then another and soon I was yelling and crying at my dad across the hall. I took one glance down the hall and saw Jake walking in. I didn’t want him to walk in in the middle of our fight-if that’s what you call it.

“Alice-“ my dad started but I cut him off.

“Dad, don’t. Not while Jake is here at least.

I saw his eyes and knew that he was sorry for what he did, and realized he didn’t know what he had done to us until I had told him. I started wiping the tears from my eyes, hoping that Jake didn’t see them. Not because he hadn’t seen me cry before -he had- but because I didn’t want to explain why I was crying, I just didn’t know if I wanted to remember it.

“Hey Alice,” he said as he came up. I was glad to see him again. He was dressed in almost what I was wearing. He had on jeans and a plain grey t-shirt. His dark chestnut hair just sweeping above his eyes, and he had a jacket folded over in his arms, he was the smart one. I had forgotten to bring one, and forgotten how cold it got in hospitals. I shivered as I sat back down.

“Hey, Jake,” I said as I sniffled and pulled my knees up under my chin. I tried to force a smile, but didn’t know how well I managed it. I apparently didn’t hide my crying very well, because his expression changed and he looked concerned. He took a seat on the other side of the bench and I scooted closer to him wanting some comfort from somebody.

Are you okay?” he asked me. I shivered and remembered how cold I was. He took the jacket he was holding and wrapped it around my arms. It was warm from where he had been holding it for so long. It felt good wrapped around my arms. I thought for a minute on what would be a good answer to his question, but decided I might as well, tell him the truth.

“Honestly,” I told him, “I don’t know.”

“What happened? Is it about your grandma?” he asked. After I was silent for a few minutes he added, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

“Part of it is about her, yes. But the other part… my dad went off on me and I went off on him and then it just turned into this big fight. I regret yelling at him but I can’t take back what I did,” I told him. My voice was quiet, but I could tell he heard me. I could feel the tears that were falling down my cheeks. He brought his Hand up to my cheek and wiped away the tears. He left his hand there and I covered it with my own. The back of his hand was warm against my palm.

“I’m sorry,” He told me. He leaned down towards my head, and kissed my forehead. He pulled away, his hand going with him, and I felt my hand go against my cold cheek.

“Me too,” I mumbled, and dropped my hand from my cheek, and turned my head back around, not looking at him anymore. His arm was still wrapped around my shoulder, and I realized I liked it there. I laid my head on his shoulder again. I felt my eyes close, and with that, I fell asleep.

* * *

 

In my dream, I was back in school, and everything seemed normal. I wasn’t worried about my grandma, or my dad, or anything else, it seemed like a normal day with friends. I soon realized that I was in the lunchroom at HillsideHigh School. But something felt wrong, almost like something was missing. I looked around to see if everybody was there. It looked like everybody was there, like a normal day, but then I realized one person was missing.

Jake.

Before I knew was I was doing I ran out into the hallway, out of the lunchroom and started running down halls. It was dark, which was unusual, as far as I knew they had always kept them on when students were in the building. I turned down the hallway where our homeroom was. That was when I saw him, but something looked wrong. I started running toward him, glad I found him, but I stopped dead in my tracks once I saw who he was with. They must have heard me coming because they turned around to face me.

“Well, well, well. Look who it is,” Hailey said. She was wearing her cheerleading uniform which she always looked great in. Even though we were both cheerleaders, she had always beaten me when it came to looks. Jake and Hailey started stalking towards me. They had this look of anger in their eyes that scared me. I didn’t know why, but it did. I took a step back and tripped on the trashcan behind me. I caught myself before I could hit the ground.

I could hear Hailey and Jake chuckle.

“What a geek,” Hailey spat at me.

“I know. I can’t believe I ever spent my time liking her. What a waste of time,” Jake snapped. I was surprised to see them both here. They usually just hang out when we are all three together.

“Jake? Hailey? Why are you… what are you…” my voice faltered out at the end. I waited for them to say something, but it never came. They ended up just laughing at me.

“Wow, she’s just so funny isn’t she?” She turned to Jake and looked up at him, and wrapped her arms around his neck. He stepped closer to her, and leaned down like he was going to kiss her.

“Mm-hmm,” he mumbles and leaned closer to her face.

No, I thought. Something clattered and I heard voices yelling. I turned around to see what was going on…

* * *

I woke up shivering. I looked at my grandma’s door, it was closed and everything seemed fine in there. I looked to the door next to my grandma’s. There was an older man being pulled out into the hallway and voice yelling things that didn’t mean anything to me. The older man being pulled out didn’t look like he was breathing. His face was white and his lips were a pale shade of blue. I gasped at how bad he looked.
“Don’t look,” Jake whispered in my ear. His grip had tightened around me and I was pushed up against him. I listened to what he had said and buried my head into his shoulder. I sat there for a minute trying not to think about what I saw.

“Your good,” Jake whispered his whisper sent a shiver down my spine. I looked up from his shoulder and glanced down the hallway, everything seemed normal.

“You okay?” Jake asked me. He had loosened his grip around me, but I scooted closer to him.

“Umm, yeah, I’m fine.” I shook my head as if trying to clear the images I just saw. I ran a hand through my hair and closed my eyes. I thought about the dream I had, and wondered if I should ask him about Hailey. I decided now or never.

“Uh, hey, Can I ask you something?” I had opened my eyes and was staring into his dreamy green eyes. I saw a hint of confusion in his eyes, but he still answered.

“Sure, I guess,” he replied.

“Okay, I know this is kind of random, but have you and Hailey ever, I don’t know, dated?” I asked him. The confusion in his eyes turned to surprise.

“Me and Hailey, dating…” he seemed to think about it for a minute and a smile crept across his face. “No, I have never dated Hailey. Why did you want to know?”

“Well, when I was sleeping I had a dream about you and Hailey and it just felt wrong that you two would be together. I felt jealous and mad, when I saw you two together in my dream,” I told him. He seemed pleased with my answer but never said anything more about it.

“Now, can I ask you something?”

“Yes.”

“You might now want to answer and you don’t have to. But I want wondering if you have gone in to see your grandmother yet,” I looked away from his eyes when I answered, closing my own.

“Yes I have once, and haven’t gone back in since then, and seeing that guy, reminded me why. Every time I got in there she looks so lifeless, and helpless. And it kills me because I know that I can’t do anything about it, and I know I should go see her in there, but I can’t bring myself to do it,” I told him quietly. I could feel the tears slipping silently from my eyes; I wiped them away as quickly as they came. Jake was quiet for a moment and then spoke.

“I’m so sorry. I mean, I know how you feel, I had to go through the whole thing with my mom, and I just kept telling myself, you never know when her last minute is going to be, and I wanted to be there for her when that was,” He mumbled to me. I had totally forgotten that he had already been through this and knew exactly what to do. I felt bad for bringing up his mom.

I looked up at him and saw one tear sliding down his cheek. I lifted my hand up to his cheek to wipe it away. He covered my hand with his, and I brought my face up to his. He leaned closer and I closed my eyes. He brought his lips to mine. It was more of a tickle than a kiss. I pulled away and opened my eyes. Jake was staring into my eyes, his green eyes sparkling.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “For bringing up your mom I mean. I know it must be hard for you to talk about. I didn’t mean to make you…uncomfortable,” I told him. I looked down away from his eyes. I didn’t know what else to say.  I felt his hand slide under my chin and he forced my gaze up to his.
“I’m not sorry. And I wasn’t uncomfortable about talking about it. I know you can understand what I’m talking about.” I smiled up at him, and kissed him on the cheek. I leaned into him, wrapping my arms around him giving him a hug.

“Thank you,” I whispered. I untangled myself from Jake and settling back into my seat, with Jake’s arm around me still. We sat like that in silence for a few minutes.

“Do you want to know what I think?” He asked me. I looked up at him, curious as to what he would say.

“What?” I asked him. Just then I heard Gracie walking down the hall with mom. They were talking about a boy named Justin in her class. I turned to look at them and my mom smiled at me. I returned her smile glad that she wasn’t upset with me before. I would apologize later, but right now I wanted to hear what Jake had to say. I returned my gaze back to Jake.

“I think that you should go in there and see your grandma again. I know that you don’t want to, but like I said I never knew when y mom’s last minute would be and you don’t know when hers will be,” He told me. As soon as he said it, I knew he was right. I thought about it for a minute and decided I could give it a try.

“Your right,” I said. I stood up and mad my way towards the door of my grandmother’s room. I turned back to look at Jake and he gave me an encouraging smile just as Gracie ran over towards him and Gave him a big bear hug. I smiled and turned toward the door.

* * *

I stood there, awkwardly, holding mamaw’s hand. I wanted to tell her that everything would be okay, and she would be home soon, but how could I do that if I knew that she wouldn’t be coming home? Even though the doctors said that she can’t hear us, I still hoped there was still a small chance she could.

I could hear the steady beep of the heart monitor. Her hand felt like ice. I let it slip to the bed and started walking across the room to where two metal chairs were sitting. My grandmother and I were the only ones in the room so my shoe made a loud clatter as they hit the tile floor. My hands met the brown metal chair and I started to walk across the room to sit beside.

I heard the heart monitor go into a long, steady, high-pitched sound. I looked up at the monitor and saw the green line going straight across the screen. I dropped the metal chair, and ran to the side of mamaws bed. I screamed for my mom and dad, but not sure if anything came out. I heard the door push open, and the doctors and nurses coming through. I started getting shoved back towards the door. I tried to fight my way through the crowd, but I felt someone’s arms wrap around my waist. They pulled me out into the hallway. I turned to face the person who pulled me out of the room.

“Jake,” I breathed. I wrapped my arms around him and sobbed into his shoulder. I didn’t know what would happen next, but all I knew is that I was there for her last minute.


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