The sun shines radiantly through the hallway window. A gentle breeze blows through the window, ruffling the curtains. My eyes dart around, wary of anyone approaching. I hesitantly take out my hand and slowly open the door. As I come into the room, I see a girl beaming with such beauty, it seems as if she is a goddess from heaven. She sleeps peacefully and soundly. Her blonde hair is like streaks of gold. Her face is pale, but beautiful. Her body is both slim and frail. I sit down on a chair next to her, staring in awe at her beauty. Suddenly, she starts to move and emerges from her slumber. She sits up and looks at me with surprise. Her bright blue eyes stare at me, as if she is looking into me. I avert my gaze, being nervous and embarrassed. She starts to laugh at my reaction, knowing that I am shy around girls, then she gives me a comforting smile, as if to say that it’s alright. I stand silently, not knowing how to react. My face is flushed and my heart is beating rapidly.
“Hello, you came again,” she says with a cheery voice.
I stand still, unable to respond to the abrupt greeting. Scrambling around for something to say, I begin to panic.
“Hey,” I mutter, panicked.
I place the flowers I brought onto the bedside table and try to rush out, but she loosely grabs onto my arm, knowing that I have a tendency to run away when I am nervous. As I look at her, I see images of the past. I remember when I first met her. I was a young carefree six year old. I had no friends and was bullied. She was the only one who stood up for me. She was the only person who offered to be my friend. I remember that whilst everyone watched and laughed as I was bullied, only she defended me. I remember when she first told me her angelic name, which I will never forget. She told me that her name was Sarah.
I no longer desire to run, so Sarah loosens her grip on me. I look at her and see her white robe, a robe that only patients wear. Her heart is slowly failing her and she may die at any moment. I know that I should be supportive, but all I thought of was running away and leaving her alone. Her parents are busy at work and her friends have abandoned her. Most of her day is spent in solitude, yet she’s still smiling after all that she has been through.
For a while, I stand in silence speechless, shaking nervously. In a desperate attempt to break the awkward silence, I say the first thing that comes to my mind.
“How have you been,” I mutter nervously.
“Okay, I guess,” she responds whilst shrugging her shoulders.
“How have these past few years treated you,” she suddenly states, surprising me.
I guess she still remembers the day when we first met. Since that day, I had tried to befriend her, but was too nervous to approach her. Months and years had passed, but I had never faced my fears. Now it’s too late.
“I remember when you were a cute little kid,”she says, chuckling.
She starts to talk about what had happened in the past, whilst I just nod silently. Our conversation continues and time passes swiftly. Eventually, I feel that I have to leave. I look at the watch on my hand, seeing that it is already six thirty. Knowing that I need to get back home, I quickly run out of the door startling her.
In the distance I hear Sarah say “Thank you for the flowers.”
I rush out of the hospital, running as fast as I can. I need to get home and as soon as possible. When I finally arrive at the train station, I am panting heavily. My heart is beating rapidly. My arms and legs feel like lead. In the distance I hear the whirring of the train. The wheels are crashing rapidly against the tracks. I feel a sense of relief knowing that I may arrive home before my parents.
When I arrive home, I see that my parents haven’t come back home yet. I enter my room and lay on my bed. I think about the events which have transpired today. Everything seems like it was from a dream, as if it weren’t real. I close my eyes in thought, wondering what my parents would do if they knew about what I have just done. I never told them about Sarah, knowing that they wouldn’t allow me to visit her even if I had begged them. My parents would never let me do anything that would hinder my education. I was denied the right for a proper childhood. As a child, my parents never cared about me. They neglected me, only providing me with food and then left me to study. My parents never show affection towards me, always pushing me towards a goal that they chose for me. They want me to become a doctor and they don’t even care about what I want to become.
My eyes become weary and I fall asleep. I dream about the time I’ve spent with Sarah. I have visited her twice. I think about what she has experienced. I wonder how I would feel if I have experienced what she has. I would be frightened, fearing death. She acts cheerful, but I know deep inside, she must be crying. I know that I should support her, so I decide that now, during the last few weeks of her life, I will visit her and try to make her life easier.
During the next few weeks, I visit Sarah every school day. I become more confident and stop shaking. I begin to open up to her. Now, I am able to have a proper conversation with her. Everyday, I look forward to visiting her. Our relationship grows stronger, and we have become more that just acquaintances, we are now friends.
It has been five weeks since my first visit to Sarah. As I approach the door to Sarah’s room, I hear the faint sound of crying. I stop in my tracks, hesitating before I enter. I don’t know how to react to this. How would I comfort her through her time of struggle? I take a deep breath in and slowly open the door, barely making a sound. I see her Sarah’s, covered in tears. I sit on the chair next to her wondering what I should do.
“I’m going to die soon,” Sarah sobs softly.
I stand still, in shock, unable to react.
“As a last request, I want you to pursue your own dream. You don’t have to obey your parents’ every command,” she tells me.
“I wanted to have a simple life as a teacher, but I am unable to achieve my dream, so I want you to achieve yours,” she says, with tears trickling out of her eyes.
I sit next to her, holding her hand whilst she cries underneath her blanket, listening to her last wheezing breaths. I sit in silence relishing every last moment I have left with her.
By the time I leave, it is already eight thirty. I know my parents will be furious, but I no longer care. When I arrive home, my parents scold me, but I just ignore them. All I can think about is Sarah. Whilst I am lying on my bed, my phone suddenly rings.
“Hello…it’s Melbourne hospital. It’s Sarah…she’s dead,” I hear, instantly dropping the phone.
Time seems as if it has slowed down. My breath begins to fluctuate. My arms become numb. I fall on my bed and place my arms over my eyes. Tears begin trickling down my face. I punch my bed mattress, feeling both furious and sad. I begin to remember the moments I had with Sarah. They were the happiest moments of my life. Now I will never see her again. I remember her last request, in her dying moments, she selflessly told me to pursue my dream, when she was unable to pursue her goal. I remember, during the last moments of her life, she told me she wanted to be a teacher. To honour last request I’ll disobey my parents and pursue my own dream. I’ll pursue her goal to become a teacher, a dream that she didn’t have the opportunity to fulfil.
Ten years pass by since the day Sarah died. I’m standing in front of her gravestone with a bouquet of flowers, the same flowers I gave her on my visits. I kneel down, gently placing the flowers on her grave.
“I have fulfilled both our dreams,” I say quietly to Sarah.
By Matthew Ung