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Death Has A Time And Place
Her fists, decorated in black bracelets, clenched the tight air around her, as her electric eyes cried dark tears. It was horrifying, it was unjust. It was not what she had signed up for.
She knelt, her long, dark curls brushing the forest floor, covering her spider webbed face. Her breath, out of her cherry lips, turned rapid.
She gulped and choked for clean air. Someone-or something-was suffocating her. It was the feel of another alive human’s hand into hers that got her off her knees. She leaned into the body, her nostrils filling with the person’s earthly scent. This person, like her, was condemned and ill. She understood her instead of shunned. They were both heading on the same path, though their illnesses differed.
Her stomach was nonexistent now. It wasn’t like she didn’t know that the scene unfolding before her in this moment would be her in the coming days, weeks, maybe months. Maybe it was wrong to run from what she had, but not one person from her old life deserved to see her like this.
She tried to lift her hand to wipe her face, but it seemed as if gravity was keeping it down. How was she watching this? Was this her reality, or a dream? Was this how people lived, when they didn’t have anything else?
Margo, in her rags and her dirty, mousy hair, lay limp on the dead grass. It wasn’t like she knew her well, but she knew the way Margo had left was the way she was going to. Though Margo had been living with all of them for awhile and she had just come, she was one and the same.
All she had cared about was washing away, like rain washes away chalk drawings on the sidewalk. She wouldn’t let herself remember her best friend or her mother-everything good she had had but didn’t want them to see. Now she was a pale, boney mess with makeup running down her face and tears in her now way to big clothes.
It seemed the stage between life and death- but yet wasn’t everybody in that stage from their first breath? No, her time was nearing, like a shadowed creature was carrying her to the end. Her lips were too thin to sing, her eyes, still electric-almost like a flashlight-had not one more tear. Whoever was holding her, whatever human still alive and breathing, was about to let her go. Clocks had ticked, however many seconds turned minutes turned hours turned days- had passed since she had seen the tumble of Margo into the waiting arms of whatever was taking the sick child. Time was strange in itself, ticking and ticking until the exact hour, the exact minute, the exact second came that God wanted you to die. And every being, well or sick, had an exact date, and an exact time. It was the job of the clock to tick along until its hands landed on yours.
She wanted to be dropped. Darkness came too early for her and the people around her, the poor and vulnerable, people that probably would have been healthy if they had had the benefits she had. People that honestly couldn’t afford to live. This was a night darkness fell too soon and swooped her up, leaving the sun to rise too soon, finding one less breathing person on the planet.
She felt herself being transferred, out of the hands of the human and into the hands of something else. She was a memory long before this moment, she hadn’t seen her mother or her friends in over a month. She was already a framed picture with a smile shining back at them, a smile that would smile forever, a face that wouldn’t move. Alive but a memory- that was the paradox she was.
Her eyelids fell gently over her emerald irises, hiding them for eternity. She was warm, like a blanket had been spread over her. She was full, she was in a dreamlike sleep that she would remain in. No hand would shake her to wake her up, not ever again.
Phones would ring, eyes would cry with her loss. She saw a stone etched with black writing, summing up the person she was in three sentences. She wished she could dive into each important person she had had and press her own hand on their heart. She knew that her shell would be dressed and made up, kissed and showered in roses before the lid on the casket shut her out of life. She saw this as she slept. She wished she could have told them the truth- she saw the signs and ran. Doctors had said she should have died four years ago. She had surpassed expectations.
Her eyes fluttered open, a shock running through her body. She wasn’t supposed to wake from her soft, warm sleep. Was she dreaming in the slumber of death? Was it possible?
She saw the hospital room, the room she had been so accustomed to for the past few years. The rough sheets, the bare walls- all holding the bad news that came out of doctors’ tense lips.
She saw her mother’s eyes, in a wet glossy gaze upon her. She reached out a hand, sure she was some type of ghost, a hand going through her mother. But no, her mother was as solid and human as she was.
Her mother smiled as she took her daughter’s hand. “It’s over” she whispered.
“No” she told her mother, feeling her curling hair on the pillow, the wet, smeared makeup on her face. “It held me in it’s warm, quiet blanket and put me right to sleep…”
“No” her mother told her, squeezing her hand. “The surgery is over. For a second we thought we lost you…” her grip tightened, “but you pulled through” her mother wiped tears away. “You’re going to be ok. They found the exact match up for your liver…you’re not going to die”
She took this in. It was over. The search was over. She no longer had to listen to doctors tell her that she would only live so long unless they could find an exact match, which would be terribly hard. But they did and she was out of danger.
“Mom” she sat up, holding onto her mother’s arm. “It’s grip was gentle, and the blanket was soft and the sounds were quiet and peaceful, and I thought I wanted to be there forever. But I don’t” she smiled, feeling her eyes prick with tears. “I’m alive, and I want to live until the clock stops at the exact day, time, hour, minute and second God wants me to die” she pressed her head against her mother and breathed heavily. She thought of Margo, whoever that was, and the little group of sickly people. Her dream was so vivid, so real… “and I want to help those like me” she whispered, her words so quiet they dissolved in the air, “I promise to help them, who can’t afford this like me” she closed her eyes then, falling asleep in the warm arms of her mother.