Short Story: I'll See You Again
Running. The corridor was so long; why was it so long? She had to get there fast. She had to get there fast before... Before...
“No!” she screamed. “No!”
The look on the doctor’s face told her otherwise. It was too late. But it couldn’t be. She had to see him. She had to tell him before it was too late. It couldn’t be too late. No. She wouldn’t believe it.
“I’m so sorry...” the doctor said.
“No.” It was all she could say. No other words would form except, “No.”
“There’s nothing we could do,” the doctor continued.
Several voices were hushing her, several pairs of hands and arms steadying her as her legs buckled from underneath her and she collapsed in a sobbing heap on the white tiled floor. She kept uttering the same word over and over, as if the watery mantra would bring him back: “No... No... No... No...”
“I am very sorry for your loss,” the doctor said again. “There was nothing we could do.”
“You can spend a few moments to say your goodbyes now,” a nurse said, poking her head around the door. Lines of sympathy gently creased her otherwise flawless face, and her lips tried to smile for her, but to no avail. She led Chrissie into the room. Was it possible for this room to seem even whiter than the corridor? Even colder?
He would’ve looked asleep if it hadn’t been for the bruising that covered his face and the blood that soaked into his hair. Machines were beeping all around him, and she could see his chest rising and falling with each breath, but he wasn’t the one making those breaths, she could see that. He looked so...gone. Gone. He would never come back.
“Hey,” she whispered softly. Her hands went straight to his hand and head, holding him, stroking his matted hair. He was still warm, yet so cold; he was there, but he wasn’t.
“I must say, you always knew how to cause a scene,” she chuckled wryly, “but I somehow think you went a bit too far here.” There was only the steady beeping of the machines that filled the silence after her words. She looked down at their entwined hands...well, her hand clutching his. It felt so weird to not feel that familiar firm grip on her hand, the odd squeeze on her fingers which she would then respond to with a squeeze of her own. Before they knew it, they’d be having a battle to see who could squeeze the hardest, and of course he’d always win, though she could swear he cheated somehow. Maybe he had a certain way of holding her hand so that he squeezed the right parts to make her succumb to him. She would never know now.
“Do you remember when we were kids?” she asked, swallowing the lump that threatened to burst into a strangled sob. “We said that... We said that we have to die at the same time – together. That way neither one of us would have to live without the other.” A sob escaped, and then another. “But you have left me,” she moaned. “You’ve broken your promise! And now I have to live the rest of my life without you!”
The machines continued to beep consistently, and for a split second she had the urge to rip out all the wires that were keeping his body alive. She felt disgusted then, recoiling from the body that was supposed to be him, before cupping his hand once more.
“I would go with you,” she whispered. “I would go with you if I could. But I can’t. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be fair. And I think you would hate me if I did go with you.” She inspected his features closely. Nothing. “I wish you would wake up,” she sobbed. “I want you back! I want my twin brother back! How am I supposed to live without my twin brother?”
“You won’t have to.”
She spun around to see him standing behind her, that cheeky glint in his eyes featuring in his otherwise sombre expression.
“You won’t have to live without me,” he said, “because I will always be right here with you.” Tears threatened to flow from his eyes as ruthlessly as her own. “I will never leave you – I promise.”
“I never had the chance to tell you I love you one more time.”
“I love you.”
“I said I know.”
She smiled sadly. “I love you so much, Jake.”
“I love you too.”
“I love you more.”
“Oh no you don’t!”
“Oh yes I do!”
The nurse came in just as she was giggling, a confused look on her face. “Is everything okay?” she asked softly.
“Yeah,” Chrissie sniffed. “Everything’s fine.” The nurse nodded, a slight frown still present, but nonetheless left without further ado. Chrissie turned back to Jake.
“I’ll see you again?” she asked hopefully.
“When the time is right,” he replied. “But I will always be here with you. Never forget that.” His eyes roved over her reddened eyes and nibbled lips, her swollen belly. “Take care of yourself, Chrissie,” he said.
Chrissie laid her hands on the bump, her eyes filling again with tears as she thought of the new life that she was carrying. She knew even before she looked up that Jake was gone. She took a deep breath; she was going to have to be strong for this little one.
Walking out of the hospital without Jake was difficult, only she wasn’t without Jake; she could feel him walk beside her. With that in mind, she wiped away her tears to make way for the small smile that graced her lips. For she knew that she would not be living without a part of her being – he would forever be by her side.