Spencer is here. I'm not sure how long he's been here. I don't remember him coming in and I don't remember closing my eyes. It's night. I don't remember it going from light to dark. I close my eyes. I don't remember how long I've been asleep. Or if I even slept at all. I'm losing time. I try to move but my head hurts. My whole body hurts. I think the last of the morphine has worn off. I want to open my mouth but it hurts to do nearly anything. It hurts to breathe. It hurts to open my eyes. I knew that it was going to be bad once the morphine wore off, but I couldn't ever have imagined that it would be this bad.
I must make enough noise to warrant attention, because all of a sudden Spencer's eyes are on mine. "Mr. H!" he calls. Dad's next to me in a second. I try to turn my head to look at him but it hurts too much. I hear myself whimper and even that sends an uncomfortable vibration through me.
"Grace," Dad whispers. I try to tell him that I hear him but I can't pull a sentence out. "Gracie," he tries again. "Are you awake, honey?"
I pull down a painful swallow. "M'wake," I finally manage and he sighs. I force myself to push my head over so I can see him. I take a shaky breath. I can feel warm tears falling onto my cheeks so I must be crying. I finally get my head turned and Dad pushes my bangs back to rest his hand on my head. It sort of hurts but I don't want him to stop so I keep still.
"Hey," he greets and I try to smile at him. I must succeed because his face lights up. "Spencer's here," he tells me and I want to tell him that I know but I can't push out the words. He smiles at me and takes my hand. I try to focus all of the energy and all of my feeling into the hand that he's holding. It doesn't work really, but it takes my mind off of the pain for a couple of seconds.
I slide my left hand across the bed until my fingers hit Spencer's hand. He takes my hand in his and runs the pads of his fingers over my wrist. "Gracie?"
I force my eyes open to see Dad watching me and I smile at him again. I take a few breaths but I can't get the air deep enough into my lungs. I shift my body as best I can but it feels like I might fall to pieces just from moving.
I finally get myself turned enough to be able to see Spencer. God, he's handsome. He looks tired, but the glimmer of moisture in his eyes make them brighter somehow. He quirks a smile at me. "Spencer," I finally get out and he lets out a breath.
"Hi," I breathe.
He glances up at Dad for a second. "Mr. Harrison, do you think..."
Dad nods. He stands up and leans over me. "I'm gonna go wake up Mom." He kisses my forehead as gently as he can manage. "Spencer'll stay with you, okay?" I smile back at him and he turns to Spencer. "I'll give you a few minutes."
He nods. "Thanks."
When Dad's down the hallway Spencer scoots his chair in closer. He's still holding my hand. "Hey, Gracie." I run my fingers over his arm as best I can. I don't say anything. I don't need to. Everything I need Spencer to know I've already put in the letter. "Thank you," I murmur and Spencer's eyes go a little wide.
I smile at him. For everything you are, Spencer Allen. For everything you've been for me. For being the pieces that pulled my puzzle together. "For the moments," I breathe. He drops his head and lays it kind of near my ribs. I push my hand up into his hair and he covers it with his. I consider all the moment that I've spent with Spencer. All the things we've said and all the things we've done and all the times that I fell in love with him. But this moment isn't about us. And it isn't about me. I've made my peace with this. This moment is different.
He lifts his head and moves to lean his forehead against mine. I can feel his tears falling onto my cheeks. "I'm sorry," he whispers. And I don't ask what for. Party because it doesn't matter, and partly because I already know. For all of it. For all the times I loved him and he didn't love me. For all the times we fought. For all the terrible things we said to each other. But it doesn't matter. Because it isn't about me. And I'm so grateful to have known what it means to love like this. No matter what the final outcome.
"Don't be," I whisper. I reach my hand up and trace my fingers down the side of his face, something he'd never let me do otherwise. But this wasn't otherwise. This was different. This was our last moment. "I'm in love with you, Spencer," I tell him. And it's the first time that I've ever really said it out loud like this.
I hear him let out a soft sob and another of his tears hits my nose. "I love you, Grace," he says and then he touches his lips to mine, softly, gently. And he kisses me slowly. And it's everything. It's an apology, it's a confession, it's a promise. It's goodbye.
When he pulls away his face is streaked with tears but he smiles through them. "Bye, Spence," I tell him and he doesn't correct me this time.
He leans down and presses a kiss to my forehead. "Bye, Gracie." He turns away from me. He doesn't look back. He doesn't tell my parents he's leaving. He just goes. And I think maybe it's better that way.
Sarah is sitting next to me in bed, over the blankets. I'm sort of leaned into her and Haley has my other hand in hers. Mom and Dad are on the couch. At least, I think they are. They were the last time I knew, but I'm not sure when that was.
I've been so in and out that I can't really remember how long it's been since anything. I'm not sure if it's day or night. I don't know if I've been asleep or awake. I'm losing track of time. And it doesn't really feel like...time...anymore.
Someone's praying, or they were. Maybe it's a lullaby. I can't be sure anymore. My senses are all disconnected. But I still feel...here.
It's odd you know, the things a person considers while they die. I feel like I should be thinking about something. Something important. But all I can think about is breathing. Because I've never truly understood it until now. I suppose it's something you just don't think about until you're about to lose it.
For my entire life my breaths have come in groups, pairs, threes. Apart from twice. There's two breaths in the history of every breath you take that do something more. One tosses you into life lungs first. One is magical and miraculous. And then none of them seem to matter until all of a sudden you've only got one. One final breath, and it doesn't matter if you've said what you needed to say or done what you needed to do. Time's up. And it comes whether you want it to or not. One breath...means goodbye.
I can feel it coming...that last breath. I didn't think I'd be able to. But I can. Everything's harder: moving...talking...seeing. It doesn't hurt, not really. But if I could really...focus...on it...maybe it would. I can still feel...someone...holding my hand. I don't know who it is. Haley...maybe...
Everything's hazy...or maybe...just soft...I can't...really tell. Anymore.
I wonder...if maybe this is...how it feels... It's okay...
I thought I would fight until...my fight was...gone. But it's more like...fading...out of me...
And I'm...starting to think...maybe...