(Image from Pinterest)
Her milky skin was luminous in the dust infused light which leaked through the moth eaten curtains. Her heart beat slowly, slower than a walk through sand dunes, her veins were tinted grey, and although alive, she looked dead. Piercing her hollow, dark eyes into me, I waited for her to speak. The potted plants around us crawled in the sunlight, and the concrete floors cooled the souls of my feet, even though I was dripping with perspiration. We were solemn, and as time went on my gaze drifted over to the corner of the room, where a leaking pipe had caused black mould to spore.
‘I was sure that this would be it.’ She cracked her knuckles, and dislocated her index. I reached over and took her hand.
‘You will feel some discomfort, but nothing shocking.’ I explained as I pulled and re-aligned the bones. As I did so she winced in the dim light.
‘I thought you said it was going to hurt.’ She pulled away, her creamy skin translucent against her bleach-coloured robe made a perfect combination into the world which others were soon to enter.
‘Now I never said it wouldn’t hurt, I just claimed it wouldn’t be anything, shocking…’ Her gaze was distant as she looked up at me once more. She rose from her seat and slowly shuffled to the bedside table. As she fumbled in the draws I looked around the olive coloured room. The wicker chair she was perched on was beginning to fray, the plants hanging from the ceiling were bright and luscious and the crisp sheets on her bed were pulled tight with not a crease to be seen. I poured another glass of water for her as she gradually returned to her seat. In her skeletal grasp was a small mahogany box, with the engraving ‘E.D’ on the lid. Small flowers encapsulated the lettering and trailed down the sides. She lifted the lid and placed it on the glass table beside her, despite the hinges. Inside were various pieces of paper, envelopes and other smaller boxes.
‘I decided, long ago, to start compiling some of my more sentimental possessions together and –,’ she coughed hoarsely; I quickly brought the drink to her lips and watched as she suckled on the sweet water, ‘and knew when the time was right to disperse them among the family.’ She began to lay out items on the table.
‘Now I haven’t told you why I am here, can’t you just wait for a minute please?’ I sensed that the desperation in my eyes had affected her slightly, as she stopped her fumbling for a moment and stared back at me. The room was silent as I gathered my words together,
‘There is this possibility that tomorrow afternoons session… could be your last. However I went to the – to the manager and explained your situation. His advice was for you to remain in your room until the effects of the session ware off, however if you desire to stop or even relocate he would gladly provide you with the living accommodations and medical facilities which you would need in replacement of your final session within the grounds…’ As I spoke, she did not take her gaze from me, her expression was illegible and vacant and the sun behind the curtains faded. From this I began to speak again, only to be interrupted by a frail finger held up before me.
‘For three years now I have been here within these four walls. For three years now I have lost my faith in many things. People mainly, however other features which have coloured my life,’ her eyes trailed along the ceiling, absorbing the cracks and colours in it, ‘I know that soon another will be living here due to its vacancy, and that the three decades which I have been on this earth will come to a final frayed end. I have every right to decide what my short future shall entail, and I owe it to you that I have lived this long. My dear, you are the reason I make an effort to brush my hair and wash my face, without you I know I would have accepted my fate years ago and allowed myself to rot in my very own bed. You have kept me healthy and nourished me the best you can. I know I have affected your life as much as you have mine, however we both need to accept what will come within the next few month- weeks.’ I stayed silent throughout this, as my eyes began to water slightly. She finally looked back at me, and the sun shone harshly through the cloth covered panes, giving her an unhealthy glow. I looked down at the miniature table in front of me, it had been laid out with a baby blue teapot, a white floral jug of milk and clear jar of sugar cubes. I cleared my throat.
‘Well, I’ll give you time to think about the options whilst I go and get us something sweet to go with the tea. Would that suit you?’ She nodded; her smile weak. ‘Is there anything you would like in particular?’
‘Éclairs, they were always my mother’s favourite.’ She craned her neck so her face was drenched in the light.
‘Great, I’ll be right back.’ I eagerly exited the room and drove away into the bustle of reality, the sky was red and the sea was green. However my eyes were blinded with the discolouration of opportunity.
Short after I arrived back, my hands restricted. As I walked into the room she sat there, asleep, her head still bathed in sunlight and her hands limply grasping the wooden box. I quietly laid out the pastries onto delicate pieces of china. Now on the miniature table there was a baby blue teapot, a white floral jug of milk, a clear jar of sugar cubes, a hand painted plate piled low with fruit preserve tarts, two dishes of sugary cream éclairs and a bowl of broken assorted biscuits. I sat in triumph over the display, and lightly leaned over to tap her thin shoulders. Just before I looked at her frame, her fine sienna hair wispily clutching her cheeks, her sunken chest which was draped in silks and her abnormally large feet which I had previously teased her about when I was first assigned with her. She was so soft and gentle; she never complained and always enlightened me with tales and limericks of her hazy past. She was a creature spawned from the world which most of society turned a blind eye to, she was a kindness that not many were able to experience and in this time which we had been together she taught me more than I taught her. I leaned and touched her cheek, stroking the sagging flesh which hung lifeless.
‘Come on, or you’ll get hungry later.’ I whispered to her, she stayed drenched in the heat of the room, her skin cool. I nudged her slightly and even pulled her up, causing the wooden box to fall to the floor, she remained closed. I whistled air to her skin, she did not twitch, she did not move, she did not breath. I placed her back on her chair and sat opposite her, biting vigorously into an éclair,
‘Your mother’s favourites, I can see why…’
Story inspired by Never Let Me Go
Words by me.