“Am I going to die” asked Josh. Pointing to his hand, he could see his tubes digging in; wincing in pain his hand ached.
“No” replied Penelope “I won’t let that happen”. Staring deeply into his eyes she put her hand on top of his. Feeling the tubes she realised how much pain he’s actually in. Taking his shoulder she rested her head on it; wishing that none of this was happening. The fear travelled in Penelope’s veins but never made it to her facial muscles or skin. Her complexion remained pale and matt, her eyes as steady as if she were shopping for shoes. She let out an understated sigh and looked into the view in the distance.
Watching the sunset, Josh lifted his hands carefully and put it on her waist. The sunrise came as if it had missed the sky and wanted nothing more than to warm up those blues to a radiant gold. Igniting the most perfect flame, the sunset illuminated the sky as its golden petals stretched ever outwards into the rich blue. Peach and magenta, amber and rose, radiating hope, a new beginning. Another chance to live. The start of a brand new day but not for all.
Retreating inside of himself, Josh felt disconnected. He wanted to re-emerge, to seek the sunlight instead of the shade, but there was no way; he was just waiting for the final blow. A gaggle of goose pimples laminated his frigid, naked skin. Starved for air, his heart raced at tremendous speeds, and his lungs shallowly rose and fell in time. He sat on the hill for what felt like an eternity but was actually only five minutes. He knew he had to go soon so might as well make the most of the time with Penelope he thought. Putting his hand around hers, he held her close to his feeble heart.
Stroking the back of his hand. Penelope wished to find some hope in this cruel world. All that he has worked for might start tumbling down. He was flying before but now he has started soaring. I’m afraid. I’m afraid that he will not have enough energy to fly anymore and start plummeting down and I’ll have to watch that happen. I ache to think that I cannot help him when he need me the most; it is burning me inside out and I cannot imagine my life without you thought Penelope whilst staring blankly at Josh.
The ringing of the timer could only mean one thing: time to go.
Walking up to the whitewashed building, a gush of panic fills the air. Poising herself carefully, Penelope steadied her breath to match her heartbeat. Her positive vibrant attitude had been faded away today just like most hopes and spirits; but she couldn’t let him get his hopes down. Carefully slipping her hand into his, she led the way even though she had only been here twice. It lies beside the sea, this hospital, where clean winds blow; its neat roadways are bordered by green lawns and flanked by long, low buildings that reach away in far perspective, buildings of corrugated iron, of wood and asbestos. Pushing through the automatic doors, Josh made his way inside.
“What if….” Josh asked.
“No you won’t” Penelope answered. “I’ll always be here”. Pointing towards the door she ordered him to go in. As soon as he went in her smile faded and she collapsed onto the nearest chair praying for his future.
Beckoning him to sit on the bed, nurse Marie came in. Her empathetic eyes looked into his there was something reassuring about her eyes and it made Josh seem to have hope for a split second. Taking his hand she carefully yanked out the needles; which caused him excruciating pain.
Sometimes the pain crushes you- it leaves you incapable of everything. It leaves you broken- in and out. The tears won't roll down, and the screams won't escape past your quivering lips. Something felt so wrong, so invalid but Josh couldn't tell what. He tried to pin point the cause for this unexplained pain but failed. This wasn’t physical pain but emotional pain. He tried to reason this unbearable burning but didn't find any. Everything felt so confused, just like a jumbled set of a puzzle. A puzzle that Josh didn't know how to solve and maybe it was getting too late to solve.
The last thing he felt was the serum going down his veins and burning his skin to a crisp. The lack of emotions made him doze off into a galaxy of nothingness.
Waking up from what seemed like a 10 minute nap he saw the clock. It had been more than 10 hours since he was last conscious. Surrounding his bed, his mum and dad were looking over him. Overflowing with joy, they had tears in their eyes and a subtle smile on their face. Trying to move his hand he couldn’t and there he saw them: tubes. They were lined up all around his hand just like fancy embroidery. Feeling a strange sensation he saw that Penelope wasn’t there.
“Where is Penelope?” he asked. Scanning around the room he couldn’t see her anywhere.
“I’m sorry, she’s not here anymore” replied his mum. Quivering wildly, her lips shuddered in pain.
“What do you mean she’s not here anymore” shouted Josh. He clenched his fist into a ball; taking no notice of the discomfort instigated by it.
If she'd rehearsed this conversation once, she'd rehearsed it a thousand times, it had to end. Now that she'd got to his bedside her mouth had gone dry and her heart was beating more forcefully than it usually did. She raised her finger to his palm but he repulsed away, and then lowered it to her side. Could she do this?
“You were in a critical situation and needed a heart donor. You got Cardiomyopathy and there were no heart donors available at that time” answered his mum. Recoiling in distress she couldn’t go on anymore; this was too hard for her. The image of Penelope appeared in her mind and was impossible to get rid of. “Penelope volunteered to give up her heart because she cared about your life more than her own.”
The earth erupted over lands and seas, through forests and valleys. Every ear in the universe stilled to listen, every heart broke, so heavy so was miserable their song. When it hit his ears he felt a weight of sorrow press himself into the dirt. His mind clouded with pain, his heart grew cold and numb with pent up emotion. He felt clogged with pain and anger, hurt, and fear. All he could do was join the cry. So he let it out in one long mournful yell to the heavens. Within his heart of hearts he longed for his cry to be loud enough to reach the ear of God himself.
Ringing in his ear, he could hear her voice saying that she wouldn’t let him die. Agonizing him, the pain was outrageous. He wouldn’t be able to live like this. Wanting to shut down, his body reluctantly kept him awake.
He couldn’t tolerate to be surrounded by the plasterboard walls which were scraped in places from the hundreds of trolleys that have bumped into them. He had to go back there; to the hill. Looking up he could see it: the moon. In his monochrome musings the moon is a deep silver, as if she were a rock alone in space, turning pirouettes for no applause. Yet when he looks for real and open his eyes that tiny bit more, he sees an orb with the company of the sun, reflecting light, not silver, but with a buttermilk glow causing the water to flow in rhythm the orb reflected off Mother Nature. She is there, close to our Earth, keeping us company while she may. Just like Penelope.