The Days Before She Died

My name is Lucas Hunt,
The chances are you’ve never heard of me, never met me, and don’t even know who I am. I was a boy; I am now a man, with scruffy brown hair, big blue eyes and a body that all girls adore. This all means nothing to me. I don’t need or want the girls anymore, because the girl I truly love died. Rose is dead. I try not to think of her as dead, because she’s still alive in my heart. I live with the painful thoughts of her death, and the happiness of her smile. It’s the greatest of contradictions. That’s what I remember most though, her smile. But at least I Know that she died a happy woman because of what we did in the days before she died…

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5. Day Five

Rose was up bright and early, and she really did look amazing with her new hairstyle. She kept going to brush her hair, then Rose realised that she had no hair anymore. In a way it looked sad, but then it had to happen. On day five Rose began to have chemotherapy to see if they could cure the cancer.

Rose knew that they would never be able to cure it, but she wanted to try it anyway. Committed to cancer research, Rose even let the doctors try new un-tested cures on her. The first day of chemo was okay for Rose, although it left her a little tired. The doctors were all crowding around her at one point, so I told them to let her get an hour’s rest before they start to test her again.

Watching Rose sleep at the hospital was different than when she slept at home. At the hospital they made her lie on her back so that no fluids could reach the brain from all the testing chemicals. As she slept she looked dead. Rose had her head perfectly balanced on the pillow, hardly even making a dent in it. Her body was perfectly strait as it was laid out. Rose had her hands on her stomach, as if she was holding a bunch of flowers. I wanted to put some flowers in her hands, but somehow that seemed too morbid.

 I looked out of the window to the hospital gardens; there were a perfect couple of swans performing their mating dance in the river that ran around the back of the hospital. They had their necks intertwined to make a perfect heart. I wish that humans had a special dance to show how much they love the other person, but we cannot wrap out necks around each other so this wouldn’t happen. That's a shame though. Rose woke up after about half an hour, she wanted to join me but her legs were still weak from the chemo and chemicals.

“There is such a beautiful view from the window.” Rose whispered as I moved her from her bed to the window seat.

“One second.” I said to Rose. Then I lifted her from the hospital bed and carefully placed her on the cushions that lined the windowsill. She looked out of the window and, like me, to the swans.

“They’re in love.” She whispered.

“I know Rose.” I whispered back and kissed her neck.

“I wish we were like them. I could just do a dance to show you how much I love you. Instead of all the other rubbish things like buying you aftershave and chocolate, or pretending to listen to any conversation we have.” Rose laughed.

“I'm not that boring!” I complained, but I couldn’t help myself from laughing at her comment. “You know Rose, I suppose your right, if we were swans, I wouldn’t have to remember the say that we got together, or the day we’re getting married.” I laughed. Rose continued to laugh to herself until the doctor walked in. He looked worried when he saw Rose on the balcony.

“Get down from there; it's too high up, if you fall...” The doctor screamed. Rose’s face went bright red with embarrassment, and then she composed herself before arguing with the doctor.

“So what if I fall? I'm dying anyway. Or wait... do I need to write a report on my own death to say how that ‘just fell’ as well?” Rose argued. Her argument didn't really make any sense, but I could understand where she was coming from.

“Sorry Miss.” The doctor apologised, he looked at the floor in embarrassment and walked out again.

“Come on Lucas we’re going home!” Rose muttered, she seemed angry for some reason, so I lifted her up and carried her to the car.

“It's only lunchtime and all that drama! Trying to break a record Rose?” I laughed to try and cheer her up. She didn't laugh. She began to cry into her hands again. I really didn't know what to do. Was I meant to just hug her and let her cry? Or was I meant to ask her to talk about her problems. A man will never truly understand the thoughts of women, fact.

“I want to forget Lucas, forget that I'm dying. I want to live without limits. Now my limits are getting out of bed.” Rose cried into her hands, I took her hands into mine, and squeezed them gently to comfort her. It took me several minutes to work out exactly what to say to her.

“It will all work out Rose.” I whispered. I hoped then that all of this was a mistake, and that Rose wasn’t dying, that the only real part of it was that we were getting married. I was being stupid because Rose was dying and we were getting married. That was all there was to it.

I pulled up outside of her parent’s old house and walked Rose to the sofa. She looked very fragile as I pulled her onto my lap and played with her hair. Rose nestled her head into my chest and cried a little. After a while I got up to make lunch for her.

“What do you want for lunch Rose?” I asked Rose in a posh gentleman’s voice. She began to giggle. I was nice to hear her laughing again. Sometimes I was scared that I would never hear her laugh again. She had such a sweet laugh; really, it lit up the room, in a metaphorical way.

“One would like a Smoothie and a chicken wrap please, and one would like it served on a silver platter.” Rose laughed; her posh voice was most convincing, but not quite. We both ended up in fits of laughter as I plated up some salad and the chicken wrap she had asked for. Then, I plated it all on the silver tray that used to belong to her grandmothers.

 “Thank you Lucas.” Rose said through a mouthful of food, the salad escaping her mouth as she spoke. “It's really good.”

“No problem Rose.” I said. As the lunch filled up Rose and she looked full of life again. But, food couldn’t stop her from dying; it just gave me a chance to see the old perfect Rose again. We decided that afternoon that we should finish some of the wedding plans. So, we went ring shopping. For hours Rose dragged me around every shop that she could find the perfect one.

Then, we found Tiffanies. Rose managed to find the most expensive rings in the whole of London, and of course she just had to have them. So £3,000 later she was done looking at rings.

Rose always wanted the perfect venue. We found one almost instantly, a humble little castle in the woods. It was a fairytale perfect venue, there were Roses surrounding the castle, and there were little woodland animals that walked around the castle every so often. It was like something from a Disney film. The person that owned it had been dead for about ten years, this meant that we could buy the venue, and live in it afterwards. So that's what we did that afternoon, we rented a castle. It only cost £10,000 because the company didn't use it often.

That was the other thing Rose was worried about. Rose would only just make it to her seventeenth birthday if the doctor’s prediction was right. There were nine days left until her birthday, and I think that she counted down every single one of the days down in complete hope that she’d live to see the next.

After finding all of the venues, rings, and all other things, Rose had only one thing left on the wedding list, the old saying.

Something old,

Something new,

Something borrowed,

Something blue,

And a silver sixpence in her shoe

 

Rose always loved old sayings, and she always stayed true to all of them. But, unlike other people Rose wanted me to follow the saying as well. Here was roses plan:

Something old: My old white broach from when I was a baby.

Something new: My wedding dress.

Something borrowed: Mother’s wedding necklace.

Something blue: My nails are to be painted duck egg blue.

And I’ll put a sixpence in my shoe.

The ‘something blue’ that Rose came up with made me laugh. She loved the colour blue, and yet the only thing she could think of was having her nails painted. I re-wrote that one for her:

Something old: My old white broach from when I was a baby.

Something new: My wedding dress.

Something borrowed: Mother’s wedding necklace.

Something blue: My nails are to be painted duck egg blue.  Lucas’s mothers blue earrings.

And I’ll put a sixpence in my shoe.

She cried when she saw what I had written. My mother had been dead for about a year then, the last thing she left me were a pair of blue earrings that she wore on her wedding day. I could never use them because I was a boy, and so I gave them to Rose so that she could have a part of my mother with her on the wedding day. As Rose took them in her hands, she knew that she was taking a big part of my life. So she hugged me close and kissed me.

Soon, we broke from the embrace and I had to write my plan for the ‘something’ saying.

Something old: My grandfather’s plane badge.

Something new: My wedding suit.

Something borrowed: Rose’s fathers tie.

Something blue: My cufflinks.

And I’ll put a sixpence in my shoe.

They were the most sensible things that I could think of, and Rose smiled when she saw her father’s tie on the list. Her father had always meant a lot to me; he helped me through Rose’s diagnosis and always cared for Rose like she was the only person on earth that meant anything to him apart from his wife. I respected that, because the first time Rose introduced me to him as her boyfriend, his exact words were:

“Break her, and I’ll break your face.”

That was a fair enough comment. Rose was not a fragile person then, but her father always wanted the best for his special little girl. His only child, and in a way he gained a child when Rose died, because I became his son. Both of my parents were dead anyway.

 

After finishing the ‘something’ lists we were both tired, so we went to bed and drifted off into a deep sleep.

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