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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21. Day Twenty-One

Three days were left, and I was counting every single second as it was the most precious time of my life. Rose was awake at six in the morning, and never a second late. Although her skin was pale and eyes grey, she was making an effort. If I remember correctly, on day twenty one Rose and I were making cakes with Petal. It was rather funny.

At first we started off as being all neat, never letting a single drop of flour touches anywhere it wasn’t supposed to, but then we began to be more like a rustic family and were throwing everything into the bowl. I had flour all over my face, and all over the rest of me.  I couldn’t tell if Rose had flour on her skin, because she was as white as the flour itself. My tanned brown skin was nothing as fragile as hers. While cooking we played pop music and danced with Petal, like a family. I know that I probably should have done something exiting, that I would’ve remembered forever. I didn't need to. Making cakes is one of the memories that stick out most because it was so simple. Rose could do it without my help, and yet I was always there in case she tumbled.

After several hours of messy baking we were stood in front of a perfect apple and mango pie. An odd combination, but it works. The sourness of the green apples and the sweetness of the mangos were a perfect contrast. That's how Rose described it anyway. Petal’s face was plastered in sugary crusty stuff; god knows how she got it on her face. We never fed her anything, and she only put the apples and mangos into the tin. “It looks beautiful!” Rose squealed as she saw the latticed pie come out of the oven. It's smooth pastry a golden brown with no juice escaping the sides. My stomach rumbled, and I managed to eat a very unhealthy amount of pie. Of course, Rose had no appetite, and so she only ate a small amount of pie.  After clearing the plates I sat back down at the table with Rose and Petal.

“Let’s go for a run.” Rose said.

“But Rose, you can’t run!” I gasped. Almost immediately her eyes began to fill with tears and I regretted my comment.

“I want to do a cancer research run, so that no one has to go through what I have. They don't have to leave a life unlived, and don't have to rush into what they won’t complete.” She cried. As always I slid my hand over hers, squeezing it gently so she knew I was there for her.

“Okay, where?” I asked, thinking over the health statistics in my head. I personally, didn't want her to do it in case she hurt herself, but she looked so determined, there was nothing I could do about it.

“There’s one on today in the park. If you give in any amount of money and you can run five kilometres.” She explained.

“Let’s get ready then.” I said while gesturing to our flour covered clothes.

About an hour later we were at the starting line, in the shortest lane of the track because Rose donated £2,000 to the charity. People were watching her in awe as she took the wads of cash out of her bag and began handing them into the donation box. It actually made me smile; Rose was either not generous or overly so.

At the start of the race I began a soft jog with Petal on my shoulders, with Rose just in front of me. Then as the race picked up speed Rose dated off into the distance, more so than most people. I don't know where she found the energy, it was very strange. But then that's what the doctor said, a last spring of life is usual among the sufferers.

After an hour of puffing and panting I finally reached the finishing line with Petal still holding a tight grip on my shoulders. I looked around for Rose; she was already at the finishing line, drinking a glass of orange juice, not even sweating.

“Did you quit half time?” I asked curiously. I didn't quite understand how she got to the finishing line before I did.

“No. It only took me twenty minutes.” She laughed. My face dropped, twenty minutes was a very fast time for an athlete, let alone a woman who was dying of severe cancer.

“That's really good Rose!” I congratulated her, Rose deserved it.

Rose held her medal up to her face and I took a picture of her. I think she was smiling. That big cheesy grin that could only be known otherwise as Rose’s grins, because I have never come across another one like it.

On the day of the race I also remember hearing whistles, and smelling party food...

That's it! Rose came first that day in the race, Rose and two boys ran it in the same time. I think their names were Sam and Alex, but it's hard to remember the exact details. She was sipping virgin cocktails, which smelt like exotic fruits. There were un-famous pop bands performing little tributes to more famous bands, although the time was great I couldn’t help but worry about Rose. Every step she took became more unstable, every word she said sounded slightly less certain.

Rose was fading away. Unless this whole part was my imagination, I was very paranoid about Rose at the time, but there was nothing that I could do about that, it was my own fault.

By the end of the day I had no worries anymore; Rose was happily swinging her tiny hips to the music, and was falling around the place. She wasn’t drunk though, just very ill. The only reason why I agreed to stay was the fact that rose would only have a few days left. She had to do what she wanted to do; otherwise it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Petal and I were also trying to dance, but I had lost my teenage touch and began to do ‘dad dancing’. The embarrassing one where the father bends down and dances with the child. I think there is more than just this type of embarrassing dancing, but I only knew one that I could pull off in style at the time.

All the dancing was a brilliant distraction for me, I forgot about Rose almost being in her grave. I was over thinking everything that night, it really was just meant to be having fun while raising money for cancer.

By the time we finally got home it was ten at night, Rose launched herself into bed. Splaying her arms and legs either side of her. She then fell asleep almost instantaneously.

I however, stayed up until midnight. Writing out more plans for the funeral and singing softly to petal. The song I sang Petal to sleep with was ‘Eyes on fire’ by blue foundation. The song has a very steady, sad, slow beat that made tears run from my eyes, knowing that Rose was next-door sleeping. That Rose could’ve slept and never woken up.

 

There were just three days left.

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