I knew before the doctor came in that I was a goner. I admitted it to myself at last when he left me with the news. But nothing had ever felt better. No, I think that if he’d come in saying I’d be alright, I’d end up miserable. Now was the time I’d shine brightest, I knew that too.
I watched the mourners pour in to say goodbye to me, even though I wasn’t gone yet. I just simply smiled at them and told them this; “I’m better off now than I’ve ever been before. Please, save your tears and shed them when it matters.”
Some of them looked at me weird, others smiled sadly, and some even patted me on the shoulder. Regardless of their reactions, none of it would change my mind.
So, this is what it feels like to be at the beginning of a marvelous end. It was that feeling in the pit of your stomach that you get at the curtain dropping of an awe-inspiring play. And it was so good, you just can’t stop clapping or smiling.
But, it seemed that I was the only one who felt this way about my death. Which was a real bummer for me. Like arriving at a surprise party that no one else is intending to celebrate. Well, I always was the party-in-a-box kinda guy. You know, a one-man-band, loner party-in-a-box guy. Sometimes that was a good thing though, but not in this case. This meant that everyone was hurting for me, but I didn’t need that. I didn’t want that. Because… because it made me hurt too. And I didn’t want to hurt anymore, I just wanted to let go.
That reminded me of a dream I’d had once. A dream I’d let go a long time ago, because my dad told me it was only just that. A dream. However, I no longer believe so. If it really was only a dream, a nightmarish one at that, then perhaps I am over-thinking my life. Or taking it too seriously. Maybe both. To be honest, I’m not sure anymore, about anything except this one thing; if I hadn’t had that dream, I wouldn’t have known what to do until it was too late.
I dreamed I was a dark-winged butterfly, so graceful on the winds of chance and fate. So light that I had no choice but to let them take me wherever they wanted me to go. But sometimes, I had to force them to stop so I could enjoy the view.
The field of flowers I floated across was stunningly beautiful. Other butterflies just sped on past without taking the time to really look, but not me. I stopped to smell the roses.
But I woke to find I was still Sebastian. I was still the same guy who I’d always been. But I was in the field still. Why? Hadn’t I actually woken up?
I was so confused and dismayed, even a little disappointed to tell you the truth. It felt so good to be a butterfly on the winds of the world’s will, I didn’t want to wake up. I was guided by a greater power then as a butterfly, greater than anything imaginable. An angel perhaps? Maybe God himself? I didn’t know. All I knew was that I wished vainly that I hadn’t woken up.
But, I did. Unfortunately.
And, as I looked around me, I saw the flowers for what they really were. Flames. Big flames, taunting flames, forlorn flames, angry flames, and weeping flames. My mouth fell open at the horrible sights around me. As butterflies landed on the tips of the fire flowers they burst into flames, screaming in agony.
My eyes fluttered, and when I opened them I was a burning butterfly. It hurt to be so beautiful and delicate only to have flames slowly consuming your body. It hurt so much, but I fought not to scream. I fought desperately, my eyes fluttering once again.
I was back as a human again, unable to burn, unable to relax, unable to feel. My inability to do anything really was forcing me into insanity. I watched the other butterflies burn, like I had, and was so shamefully helpless. Just like them. Why couldn’t I help them? I was disabled and frozen, it was killing me inside.
That was when I woke up to be a changed boy. I’m twelve currently, almost thirteen, and about to die of such a ridiculous reason it almost made me laugh.
Yeah, so what if I was reckless? And if I want to play army on the train tracks, I could. And is it so hard for a train to give me a warning? No. Instead, it comes hurtling down there WITHOUT EVEN SO MUCH AS A HINT that my fellow soldier was the intended target.
But, like my furious best friend had so kindly said, I had pretty much painted a target on the back of my head.
Well, it’s too late now to have regrets. At least I’d saved that very same best friend doing it.
You know how they say that your life flashes before your eyes in your final moments on earth? Mine did. It ran through the good things, the bad things, the sad things, the things I couldn’t remember, and the train. The train that nearly killed my best friend, but I’d saved him. Like a real soldier. Like the soldier I was pretending to be. Like the soldier I had wanted to be.
And thanks to that dream I’d had, the one where I was a defenseless victim and a helpless bystander at the same time, I realized something. In that moment that I saw my friend’s face when the train was nearly upon him, I knew I could be so much more. I refused to be the helpless bystander anymore. And I died with no regrets on that decision and this one line repeating itself over and over in my head; “A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist.”
So why fight anymore, when I can die happy, which is something most men never accomplish, no matter how long they survive. Well, it’s wrong and useless to resist death anyways.
So here I am, a twelve year old soldier, dying because I value my friend’s life over my own. Seems like a pretty good way to go, to me.
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