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Life Dies as Lilies Fade
I am ill.
Here I lie, alone in my bed at the local hospital. No children, no wife.
My children have better things to do then visit a dying man who needs comfort. My wife, she is gone. She is one of the stars, and soon I will come to join her.
My grand-daughter says that our atoms are made up of the atoms of dead stars. She says that it must be a cycle. First we are a star, and then when we die, we turn into a human made up of our old star parts. Then when our human form dies, we go back to being a star; and so the cycle goes until we are too jaded and disappear. God must be the sun.
My grand-daughter has yet to visit me.
I hope my wife’s star hasn’t died yet. I would be too lonely then to ever go on.
A young boy stops by my room holding onto a bunch of lilies.
“Do you like lilies, sir?” He asks as he moves from the door to the foot of my bed.
I smile weakly. “I love them.”
He moves closer to me now. The light coming from the window hits his golden hair, giving him the illusion of a halo. He has dark blue eyes that remind me of the night sky, and they sparkle like a star would. He smiles widely and hands me the lilies.
“You can have them then. They seem to be meant for you.”
“Thank you.” I whisper.
The child leaves and I sit there alone gazing at the lilies. Finally, I place them aside and sleep.
The next day the child returns, again holding onto a bunch of lilies. He waltzes into my room and place them on my lap.
“For me? Thank you.” I smile and wink at him.
He smiles back then turns to look out the window. I try to look too, but the wires and needles stuck into my papery skin prevent me from doing much.
“It’s going to snow soon.” He says finally, his innocent voice turning serious.
“I bet it is. It’s almost Christmas. Nothing is better than a white Christmas, don’t you know?” I reply.
“I was born around this time. They say that my mom used to dream of lilies right after I was born. That’s why I’m here.” He turns to me and his eyes look sad and lost.
“What a pretty thing to dream about.” is all I can manage to say.
The boy shrugs his shoulders and proceeds to make his way to the door.
“Wait!” I call. He turns. “Will you be back tomorrow? I much enjoy your company.”
He grins and nods his head.
The lilies in my lap go to rest next to the other ones on my bedside table. I lay back and look at the ceiling.
How pathetic I must be, to look forward to the company of the angel of death.
As promised, the boy once again returns to bring me lilies. This time, I ask him to pull up a chair so that way we may talk.
“My family hasn’t come to see me yet.” I sigh.
He looks surprised. “Why not? Shouldn’t they come to see you? You are their father and grandfather and such.”
I shake my head. “Too busy. What a sad excuse. I understand that it may very well be Christmas, but they should still visit me. I visited my grand-daughter when she broke her arm, and then when my son got sick I came to see him. No excuse for not coming.”
The young boy pats my arm. “That’s okay.”
The child comes to visit me every day now. I explain to him my grand-daughter’s theory about stars, and how I can’t wait to see my wife. I tell him about all the pranks I pulled in school, and all the girls I kissed, and all of my rewards and metals I received during the war. I relive all my life while talking to him.
Finally, I become very sick and weak. The doctors and nurses say I don’t have much longer to live.
“What a pity.” One nurse with black curls and dark red lips says. “No family to see him off. And it being Christmas time too just makes it even worse!”
The lilies now stand up-right in a long glass vase. They all look the same, not one older or younger than the rest. As the days go by, they start to fade. I do too. I feel as though the lilies are my life, or rather, my death maybe.
Christmas Eve is soon upon us, and as I lie in my death bed, I wonder if the boy will show up.
Instead, my family does. They stay until the nurses have to kick them out for making too much noise and doing nothing but hurt to my “healing process”. Of course, there is no healing going on in my body, just depletion of resources and destruction of cells; as my grand-daughter would say.
I reach for the lilies at my bedside and slide them out of the vase. They are almost dead. I slide them aside and wish for something. God knows what for, but I still wish. And then, a bright light flashes and there stands the boy.
I smile and reach for him. He grabs my hand. “They finally came.”
I nod, my smile faltering. Tears roll down my cheeks as I realize what is about to happen.
“Ready for the night sky? It’s time for you to be a star.” He laughs and smiles wide, his eyes sparkling.
“Yes.” I whisper. Then a flash. The last thing I see are the petals of the lilies falling all around me and turning to sparkling dust.
I am now a star. My wife, the child, and I, are one with the night sky. A star.