LAST SESSION IN COURSE
It was 10:05 pm. The weather was supposedly warm for tonight, not that I would care. My temperature was definitively high at this point. Her last text said: “I’m on my way”. I had asked my favorite nurse, Aimee to put the sign up: “DO NOT DISTURB BETWEEN 10 PM AND 4 AM” at the door. I was lucky that I had her as a nurse tonight. I don’t think nurse Carmen would have been as understanding. The Tv was on like always, but I wasn’t watching. I was gazing at the city lights outside. The first few days here, I couldn’t have enough of the view, but now it seemed the lights had stopped glittering and were simply cold and distant like everything else. Except for Arielle.
She didn’t knock, but simply came in. She was wearing her pleated blue and grey dress and a white shirt. She had her hair tied in a bun which made her eyes look bigger than normal. Something about her face looked different. She had put on some make up, I couldn’t believe it. It was barely noticeable, but it made her look older. I smiled and she smiled too. Her smile always changed her like sunlight in a dark night and all I would want is to curl under it. I didn’t know what to say, she didn’t either and we were content to leave words aside. She put her bag in the chair next to my bed and stood near me as we dived in each other’s eyes.
I flicked the covers aside with a sense of theatricality that made her smile. I was dressed in my usual hospital attire, a thin and loose gown, an IV line delivering hopelessly antibiotics to my body and lines monitoring my heart rhythm. Other than that, the cold that I felt didn’t stop me from rising and poking under that gown. I swallowed hard as she lifted the gown and took me inside her. Her thighs were slightly warmer than mine. Our lips were slightly parted as she started to rise and fall on me while my hands closed around her breasts.
For a few minutes that lasted a lifetime, I forgot medical procedures, examinations, blood work… until I heard nurse Aimee’s voice at the door.
“Are you ok in there? Your heart rate is in the 150’s. Can I come in?”
“NO! I mean no. I’m ok. I was just…turning in bed. I’m ok. I just need to be left alone.
“ok, but make sure to call if you need anything.”
Arielle resumed her rise and fall. Our muffled moaning did a full rotation of Earth and galaxies, moved starts into a sing along, round and round; enveloped the spine of a breeze at night and came and left like waves crashing on a beach. We were gods awaken from slumber, neither moth nor flame, neither leaf nor hurricane, slurping on rich, earthy bliss. 3 minutes and 30 seconds: a small and sweet death for these chimerical lives. We were forever young gods living eternally now.
She gently rested herself on my chest, as we listened to each other’s heartbeats slowing down, tears falling down our cheeks. The she got off, tenderly wiped me down and went into the bathroom. Few minutes later, she managed to collect some of who she was back. We looked at each other one last time and then she left.
I turned off the tv, the lights and wished to grab the switch off for the city lights, but all I had to do now was to wait.
Four months of texting back and forth, of yes and no, of hope and abyss to finally find myself sitting at the bottom of my soul, watching one bubble after another go up to the surface. Four months after learning that surgery was too risky and the only thing was to wait and get comfortable. Dad and mom ran up and down, moved their mouths, emptied their pockets and their eyes even after I said “I’m fine. Just make sure the music selection at my funeral moves feet and not souls.” Mom didn’t get it and her hand printed itself on my cheek, then her lips while she said she was sorry.
I didn’t expect that having a good timeline for one’s departure could turn moments into miniature movies and chase away sleep like an intruder in one’s home. I was alive and was waiting for death’s soft embrace. I was alive and for those 3 minutes and 30 seconds, I was alive inside Ariel and I had a short briefing with God on relocating paradise.
My last two months, I encouraged family members and friends to bring their movie nights, game nights and laughter days to me. Their tears could come before or after that, but the only food and water I cared about was their laughter and acting normal.
So on my last day, I surprised my mom by asking her to get me my favorite drink: A strawberry milkshake and while she was gone, like everyone else, I closed my eyes to rest a little while.