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Fiction Sad

I pour the water into the pot. It splashes, its halos of crystals soaring and breaking in the same moment. I grab a mug from the cabinet, feel my hands around the cold ceramic.

The doorbell rings.

I get up, peer through the curtains.

A man rubs his hands together nervously, his dark, slick hair glistening in the sun. His skin is the color of coffee. He looks familiar.

The doorbell rings again.

I wrench open the door, and his face instantly transforms to sympathetic and somber. If I hadn't seen him moments before, I would have never doubted the sincerity in his eyes.

“Have a seat.” I say, trying to smile. I know where I've seen him before. He's Dr. Saul, one of the doctors at the local hospital.

A feeling of dread smolders in my chest. 

Dr. Saul looks around uncomfortably. As he waits for me to sit down first, he composes himself and begins his speech. I'm sure this isn't the first time he's said these words.

“Your daughter was always a bright presence in our hospital. She always offered to help, even though she needed it the most. It was our honor to be the ones she entrusted her life to.” Here he pauses. 

An acrid taste fills my mouth. 

“But not even our technology could save her. Yesterday…” His voice catches for a moment. It's certainly convincing, but I doubt the sentiment. “She left us forever. I’m sorry, Mrs. Shelley. We will mourn her forever.”

For a moment, I feel numb. I knew it was inevitable. People had tried to break it to me, over and over again, but a single feather of hope had still fluttered in my chest. Now it was gone forever.

My throat fills with bile, and I feel a throng of emotions trample through me. All I can do is nod stiffly. The question is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't make myself ask it.

"When is the funeral?" I want to ask. "Where is her body?" "What happened to her?"

But asking these questions will only confirm that Rose, sweet, clumsy, messy-haired Rose, is dead forever.

I hear a hissing from the kitchen. The water must have boiled. 

“Excuse me.” I tell him, my voice slightly trembling. 

"Of course." He smiles comfortingly.

I walked unsteadily to the kitchen, massaging my temples. It takes all I have to cope with my overwhelming feeling of nausea. 

A single thought crosses my mind. I never got to say goodbye. When was the last time she saw me? 

I can’t even remember. Was I irate, snapping at her for her grades? Or too busy working to even say goodbye? 

Covid rules had been so stringent. What had been the last thing she had seen?

I will never, ever, ever see her again. A tear trickles slowly down my cheek. 

I wash my face with cold tap water, pour the steaming water into a cup, and plop in a teabag.

After I wipe my face, I come out and nod at the doctor. I must look so pathetic right now, my eyes and nose ridiculously puffy and red, my hair dripping with water and tears.

But I don't care, because Rose is gone and the words play over and over again in my mind. Three words have flipped my world forever.

Dr. Saul smiles encouragingly, and has the good sense to take his leave. I send him out politely, say goodbye, and close the door.

Then I go to the kitchen, wrap my hands around the cooling mug, and take a sip.

January 15, 2022 02:10

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1 comment

Lucia Yu
05:31 Jan 15, 2022

Hello everyone! This is my first official story that I submitted to the new contest, because most of my previous stories were unfinished. I hope you guys liked it, and I'd love some feedback and critique. Thanks! :)

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