I have been for a long time now.
Everyone is dying from the moment that they were born, it’s just when they will die that is different. Some will live a long and happy life.
A sixteen year old teenager lied on the white, hard mattress, the thick blanket covering her thin, sickly frame. Her long brown hair was spread out around the pillow she had lay her head on, as if creating a small halo on her head. Her chest rose up and down slowly as her eyes were closed.
She almost seemed like an angel sleeping peacefully, had not for the fact that there were transparent tubes connecting her wrists to the IV stand that stood there.
I was twelve when they told me. Some sort of disease, they had said, but it’ll cure in no time.
It started out with a minor cough, then fever and now...
Now, I lay here, stranded, unable to see the outside world ever again. I’ve been here for four years, maybe more. I couldn’t muster the strength to count the days that I’ve been here. I could only see the world through my windows, and perhaps through my childhood memories as well. The outside looked so mesmerizing, so.. enchanting, especially during the spring season.
The nurse who took care of me, Ms. Sayaka, brought me a small diary on my fourteenth birthday. She said that I could write whatever I want in there, whatever I dreamed of seeing.
But, what was there to write?
My views on the world were confined in a small, lonely room. All I experienced was how cold the room can be sometimes. I knew almost nothing about what was going on outside.
Papa had never visited me since I got admitted. I missed seeing his face, his twinkling eyes when I hugged him, his smile. As for Mama... She hardly visits me too. Whenever she did, however, it was always after Visitation Hours were over, long after I fell asleep from the sheer amount of medication I took.
I knew it, because whenever she visited...
I’d always woke up with a fresh bouquet of pretty cherry blossom by my side.
As for friends?
I never had any friends, not since I was trapped in this place. No one could bear such dedication to keep seeing me... Save for-
The door slowly swung open, the light of the hallway shining upon two figures. They entered, closing the door silently behind them. One of them sighed and walked to the only chair in the room, a tanned, healthy hand gently grasped a pale hand. The other sat on the bed, causing a creaking sound to be made by the mattress.
“Yuyuko.” A deep and distinctively male voice said. “Yuyuko, wake up. We’re here.”
Save for Adam and Kaguya.
Kaguya had been my best friend since childhood, and had never failed to visit me since I was admitted. There weren’t any differences when we were little, we looked just like twins at the time, but as she grew older, her appearance changed too and the differences became more profound.
Her almond eyes had pretty green flecks in them and her long brown hair, just a lighter shade of brown compared to mine, was tied back in a braid. She always seemed to wear anything that suited with her white cardigan when she came to see me. That night, she wore a pale pink shirt and black jeans.
Adam was a foreigner, just moved into the country a few years ago. I’d always liked his curly brown hair and chocolate eyes, it seemed much more exotic when I first saw him.
The day we met each other was when Kaguya introduced us. Apparently, he became friends with her the moment he met her, which had been the first day of school because she was one of the only students who could speak fluent English at the time. Aside from the teachers, of course.
“Hi, my name is Adam.” He had said in English. I tilted my head to the side as I wasn’t able to understand foreign languages, but Kaguya smiled in amusement and translated for me.
“My name is Yuyuko. It’s nice to meet you.” I replied in Japanese, smiling shyly as I glanced at my friend, hoping that she’d get the message across. When he understood it, he grinned and said something that I couldn’t understand. I looked at Kaguya, but she simply laughed and said that it was nothing to worry about.
The three of us became close, despite the language barrier between us.
And for the first time since then, things, admittedly, had become more... lively. Adam and Kaguya came almost every day, sometimes bringing their homework as well. She would complain about how hard the assignments were, he would scold gently before helping out. The two of us, Adam and I, decided to try to learn each others’ languages, exchanging phrases or words to each other.
We would always laughed when one of us pronounced the words incorrectly.
“Who... who’s there..?” A soft voice whispered as dull brown eyes fluttered open. “Adam..? Kaguya..?”
“Yeah, we’re here, Yuyuko.” While the man took her left hand, Kaguya grasped her right, unfazed by the cold fingers. She began to rub them along with her own, to gain some warmth in that icy hand. “We’re here.”
“I thought.. the nurse wouldn’t let you in... Visitation Hours are over..” Yuyuko coughed. “What... took you so long..?”
“Our parents wouldn’t let us out.” Adam said, the corners of his lips were pulled downwards in a frown. “We had to sneak out.”
“Yeah.. Mother’s being strict to me lately.” The other muttered, almond eyes gazed sadly at her friend’s pale body. “I don’t know why though...”
“Idiot.. maybe if you improve your...” The patient paused to cough, covering her mouth with her hands. “Marks, then she wouldn’t be so mad.”
“Maybe.. but I’m too lazy!” Her words caused a ripple of laughter to pass through the moment. Kaguya, embarrassed, huffed and glanced away. “What?! It’s true! Who likes studying nowdays...”
“That’s not right, Yaya-chan..” The brunette lying on the bed chided, smiling as she used her nickname for Kaguya during their elementary school days. “You should be studying. Who knows what.. happens when you graduate? You might get.. a good job.”
“But, Yuyu-chan...” She whined, using back the nickname for her best friend in return. “It’s so hard..”
“Knock it off, Kaguya.” Adam, feeling somewhat left out in the conversation, decided to join back in. He smiled fondly at Yuyuko. “How you’re doing? Are the medicines working?”
“A little bit..” She gave a weak smile. Her heart felt guilty for lying like this. “I feel better than last time... at least...”
I... I had a dream...
One where I was talking to my only friends in a cafe, happily eating a meal. I looked so beautiful, so healthy when I was there. When I woke up, dazed from the drugs, I remembered it. And I held on to that dream, hoping that one day, when the doctors healed me, then perhaps... We could hang out again. This time, it would be the three of us, chatting, talking, eating together, pitching each others’ food, singing karaoke.
Mama.. Papa.. I’m sorry..
God.. Please, grant this wish of mine..
I knew my time was running out, so.. If I were to..
“You two...” Yuyuko coughed loudly, squeezing her eyes shut as pain erupted in her chest. Adam pulled her up in a sitting position and patted her back to ease the pain. “Can you do... me.. a favour..?”
The other two fell silent and glanced at each other. The looks on their faces were unreadable, as if having a mental conversation with each other. After a while, they seemed to come to an agreement, gazing back at her thin form.
“Yeah?” Kaguya asked, feeling her throat constricted. “What is it?”
“Outside... cherry... blossoms..” Her voice came in whispers, ragged breathing preventing her to speak any louder. “I want to.. see it...”
“You can’t.” Adam squeezed her hand, his eyes shut. It did not take a genius to know that his voice were trembling. “You need to stay here, and get better, then we can see the blossoms, alright?”
“There’s no.. hope for me, Adam.. I know.. you know that..” Tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she said. “Please.. This is my... last wish..”
Yuyuko glanced at the branch of blossom in a vase beside her. Uncertainly, he glanced at the almond eyed girl, silently asking her a question. Kaguya sniffled and turned away, wiping her eyes to expel the excess tears as she thought over her decision.
Her time was running out. Kaguya knew this. The doctor in charge told her that she did not have long, perhaps even days or minutes left. So, to fulfill her final wish, rather than leaving her to die alone in this cold room...
She nodded her head, feeling her heart shattering into pieces.
If I were to die, please...
Together, they carried and gently placed their best friend on a wheelchair. Adam reached for the blanket and wrapped it around her body, before the other helped pushing the wheelchair. The bright hallway lights blinded them for a moment, blinking to clear their visions before they carried on, bringing her to the main entrance. After a short chatter with the nurse, asking for permission to take their friend outside, the nurse agreed. Perhaps they were not the only people who saw that her life was short.
The automatic doors slid open and the cold air breezed through them, causing then to shiver.
The three people strolled through the hospital’s park, until they came to a quiet place, devoid of any life. Adam and Kaguya sat beside each other on the bench before wheeling the brunette, who had her eyes shut, between them.
“Hey.” He called out, glancing up. “Open your eyes.”
Listening to Adam’s request, Yuyuko slowly opened her eyes and they widened. What she saw amazed her.
Thousands of pale pink petals glided down from the branches of the trees in the park. Above them, the stars twinkled and shone brightly against the dark blue sky. There were no lamppost, and the darkness created a mesmerizing ambiance. Stunned, she held out a palm and watched as a few petals landed on them.
“So.. beautiful...” She breathed.
“I know, right?” Kaguya’s face was dark and unreadable. “There’s more you can visit when you get better, Yuyuko.”
In all her four years of being in a cold, air-conditioning room, she had never seen something so enchanting. By her sides, her best friends began to chatter, describing all the places that could be more beautiful once she got better. She smiled, glancing up at the stars and felt her heart at peace.
Her brown eyes began to flicker shut. Yuyuko leaned back on her wheelchair, feeling her hands grasping theirs and keeping the warmth that spread inside her.
But she knew...
Her time was up..
“You.. two..” Her voice faded to a soft murmur. A beautiful blue butterfly landed on her palm as she closed her eyes. “Thank...”
So, if I were to die, please, allow me to die underneath the cherry blossoms, my favourite tree..
Thank you, God.. For granting me this wish.
...Thank you Adam... Kaguya... For being there until my final moment..