Its funny how time works. I mean, it starts with a second, which turns into minutes; hours; days; then into weeks; fortnights; months; seasons; years; decades; centuries.
It’s a beautiful thing. But also deadly. It can only take 80 years for someone to be born, and for someone to die. It’s a short time when you think about it. Eighty years; 29,219 days; 701,280 hours; 420,768,00 minutes; 252,460,800,0 seconds.
So short. Too short.
My time, however, isn’t as long. Six months the doctor said I have. Six months, 182 days; 4382 hours; 262,974 minutes; 155,520,00 seconds.
So short. Too short.
The doctors can’t find out what’s wrong with me. And whatever it is, it’s spreading quickly, and it’s gonna kill me. They have been running tests on me for a while now. I’ve been in and out of hospitals, needles jabbed me, pills down my throat. It’s horrible. The doctors are going mad because of this new disease. Regular visits to the hospital have become more than normal now.
It’s taken me a while to come to this reality. At nights I would often fall asleep and imagine that it’s all a dream. And yet, every morning, I’d still awake to this same pitiful life. And then there will be the nights where I would worry if I’d ever awake ever again. To lay there awake, too scared to close your eyes, too scared to think what would come after that minute you finally do give into sleep.
I’d pray. Oh, how I would pray. I would often look around at the people surrounding my life and I curse the heavens that they choose me to have this disease. But then I’d think to myself, these people are all good people. Why should they go through what I am? I only wish for the happiness of others. But still I’d ponder upon my own life, I would compare my future life to the others around me. I would make my future, bigger, brighter than the person I would compare it to. Usually it would go along these lines: I would have a giant two storey house, an amazing, caring, handsome husband with 2 kids, a beautiful girl named Lyla and a boisterous boy named Chase. I would have my own bookstore that everyone loved and brought from there regularly. I would have a dog and a llama for shits and giggles. I imagined my life as perfect. But it’s not. No, it’s not.
It’s hard. Hard to sit there and watch your mother sob in your father’s crying arms. Hard to watch them argue about the hospital bills they needed to pay for me. Hard to watch them try to stay strong right in front of me, even though I can see past their smiling face to their sorrowful eyes. I wish to put their pain to rest. To promise them everything’s alright and I’m gonSna be okay and that I will live. But what’s the point of making promises that you simply cannot possibly keep?
The days go slow, but the weeks go fast. The doctors have given me the all clear to continue on with my schooling, yet with caution. They have given me some medication that they believe would slow down the spreading of the disease, yet they say that they cannot stop it from spreading, just I find is just another way of saying ‘you’re gonna die’.
I have to say, I’ve never been afraid of death, the thought of me dying two years ago wouldn’t have bothered me. Death wasn’t a proper reality for me back then. The only occasions of death I experienced is when my pet goldfish, Bubble died. Yet when it’s put right in front of your face, it becomes a reality. But now I’m scared of death, I’m scared of what comes next. Is it a never ending sleep fill with sweet nightmares and horrible dreams? Or does one become reborn back to reply their life? I’m scared of the next step.
“Lyra! Sweetie, dinners ready!” Mother called from the kitchen. The smell of pies and vegetables wafted through my door. Putting down the book I was reading, I got up from my cozy bed and headed out to the kitchen. Taking a seat at the table behind a dish with a slab of meat pie with a side of vegetables, I gazed at my family. My mother sat on the opposite side of me, pouring a glass of water for all of us. My father sat next to me, staring down at the food. I think I saw the drool in the corner of his mouth. And my little sister, Lilith sat on the other side of me, shoving a fork full of food into her mouth.
“How was your day, Lyra?” My father asked, hacking at his meat pie.
“It was fine.” I picked up my fork and knife and started to cut at my own food.
“Fine?” He questioned. He looked up at me. Through his thin glasses, his gray eyes were stern.
“Yes, Dad. It was fine.”
Mum and Dad shared gazes. “Honey, has everything been okay? You’ve seemed distant lately” Mum asked.
I could see my little sister in the corner of my eye pretending not to listen. She was fourteen, two years younger than me, she understood all that was happening. And I have to say, she was a very emotionally strong girl. Late at night I would often walk past her room and hear her praying. Everyone else would be asleep, but her some nights, she would be up all night praying for me.
“God, please. She doesn’t deserve this. I don’t want her to leave me... Please. Let me have the disease instead.” I heard her one night. Immediately I walked into her room.
“Lilith!” I looked at her with angry. “Do not let me hear that again! You are not to say that!”
My sister looked up, her blonde hair pasted across her cheeks from the stickiness of her tears. A horrid look was framed on her face.
“Never again, you do not wish to have what I have. Do you hear me?” She started to cry again. I sat next to her and held her in my arms and let her cry. I patted her head. “Shhh... Listen to me. Lilith, you are a strong girl, you’ll get through this. You’ll be fine.” I told her
“But you won’t.” She sniffed.
I didn’t look up and continued with my food. “Oh, you know, just that fact that I dying and will be dead at the end of this year doesn’t entirely disturb me and I’m totally fine to end my life.” My throat dried and my stomach knotted. That was harsh of me.
“Lyra, do not use that tone on your mother! She is having just as much difficulties as you.” Father said.
I looked up, and stared daggers at him. “Having more difficulties than me?”
I could see the bob of his adam’s apple as he swallowed the remaining food in his mouth. “It is not only you who is going through this. We are all in this together."
Mum sniffled and I saw wet tracks down her face.
“Excuse me. I am not hungry.” I pushed the chair out from underneath me and stood up. Without cleaning up after myself, I headed back into my room and fell into my bed. Tears threatened my eyes. I quickly wiped them and sat up against the headboard of my bed. I sighed. This time next year... I’m gonna be dead. This time next year, people will be over their mourn of me. This time next year, I will be nothing but a sad memory.
It was a depressing thought. But lately, all thoughts have been depressing.
A buzz from my bedside table caught my attention. I picked up my phone and stared down at the screen
Finch: comin to skool?
I sighed. I need to keep up my school work. But what point is there? I’m not going to be able to graduate anyway. I unlocked my phone and typed:
You: Idk, c howi feel 2morrow
A reply came almost immediately.
Finch was the only one at the moment who could bring a genuine, real smile to my face. When I first met him, he seemed shy and quiet. I couldn’t get him to talk back to me.
“Hi! I’m Lyra!” The eight year old Lyra said.
The boy just looked at me from underneath his long eyelashes with doe brown eyes. His school clothes seem to hang from his tiny body and his dusty blonde hair fell into his eyes, almost covering them.
“You’re suppose to tell me your name after that.”
The boy nodded, not looking at me.
“Well what’s your name?” I wasn’t going to give up. Not that easily.
The boy just stared forwards into space.
I continued to pester him for the rest of the day until the end-of-the-day bell rang. I was surprised or annoyed, one of the two, at the fact that this boy was in my class and I still haven’t figured out his name.
I walked out of the front gates of the school grounds and saw the boy not far in front of me. I ran to catch up to him.
“Hey.” I puffed.
The boy looked at me from the corner of his eyes and kept walking.
“You still haven’t told me your name.”
The boy nodded.
“Do you even talk?” I asked.
He nodded again.
“Then why don’t you speak?”
He shrugged this time. A new hope filled me from the new gesture I just saw from him... I was getting closer.
“Come on! Tell me your name!”
He shook his head.
We walked for another five minutes. I would often look at the boy in this time and catch his big brown eyes facing me, before quickly turning away. After about another two minutes, I heard my first words from him.
“Why are you following me?” He said, just loud enough for me to catch. It was barely a whisper.
I gasped. “You actually speak!”
The boy didn’t look at me, his gaze straight ahead.
“Well, I live not far from here, so I walk... I guess it’s the same for you. Actually, this my street here.” I stopped. “Well, it was nice meeting you.” I smiled. “I’ll see you tomorrow at school. Bye!” I turned and started to walk down the street. About five paces in, I stopped.
“Wait,” The boy said, this time loud enough for me to hear his voice properly. I turned back around. He stood there, his head bowed and his hair covering his eyes. “Finch.” He said.
“My... My name. It’s Finch.”
“Isn’t a finch a bird?”
The boy looked up and gave me a bored looked.
Ever since then, Finch and I have been good friends. Best friends to be exact. He didn’t react well to the... Issue. But then again, no one has. I remember sitting on his bed with red, puffy eyes, snot running out of my nose, and sobbing so hard it hurt.
“I-I-I’m d-dying,” I cried. “I-I’ll be dead in a year a-and a half.” I hiccuped.
His jaw clenched and unclenched and I delivered the news. His big brown eyes shimmering with tears.
I hugged him, I hugged him tight. I didn’t want to let go. I didn’t want to die.
Finch made a small noise and I felt his chest jostle. We both sat there for a good twenty minutes, crying and sobbing in each others arms.
Memories flooded my mind and my tears betrayed me by sliding down my face, leaving hot, wet trails behind. I wiped my face, but they didn’t stop. And soon, I was in a full sobbing fit. Crying, hiccuping, spitting. I was a mess.
I don’t want to die. I don’t want to live my life anymore.