Leona, Pt. 4

by twofiftyorless

Room 426

They had prepared me for the worst, but (for all its creativity) the 10 year old mind is incapable of conjuring visions equal to the horrors of reality. It was not the sterility of the room, the tubes dangling from her nose, chest and arms or the incessant beeping of various machines that disturbed me. I was ready for all of those things.

I was not prepared to see her. In 2 weeks, she had been rendered unrecognizable. Her cheeks hung heavily from beneath her eyes. Her hair had thinned or fallen out. Her voice was barely perceptible. This is what death looked like.

She was a shell of herself. I was eager to share with her how I watched Jose Rijo defeat the Cards the day before, a game I had watched just to have something to talk about with her. I wanted to show her my latest trophy: I had finished second in the Oswego County story-telling contest. Despite my youthful enthusiasm, she seemed not to care. Instead, she could barely keep her eyes open, incapable of feigning interest. Her body was there, but she was not.

Eventually, her eyes came to rest. I approached to give her a hug, but he tapped me on the shoulder and whispered that it would have to wait. She was going home, I would see her then.

I wish I had known that I would have only one more opportunity to show her how much I loved her.