*For the Project Remix, inspired by John Green's 'The Fault In Our Stars'. A different take on the love of two dying people.
“Thank you for my life.”
Life was something I had never thought about. The reason I exist. The reason I live. It was something I had never thought about until now. My story has just begun, my story will continue on for a long time. Blooming like a flower in spring. Until I eventually die. Like a flower when the winter comes along. A chapter in my story… An important chapter; will be witnessing someone writing the end of her own story.
The wind, bitter cold but soothing, whipped around the two figures. As they rested their weary bodies against the old willow tree. Its branches drooped low, concealing the two girls behind it’s leafs. As if protecting them from the cruel world that lay just beyond its branches.
One girl sat, her curly honey coloured locks flowing a little in the breeze while her emerald eyes gazed down at the much smaller, and younger figure that lay against her chest. Playing with a handful of small flowers. Her hair had once been as long and blonde as her elder sister’s, but now there was a mere few tufts of it, a sign of her on-going battle. Yet her own emerald eyes remained exactly the same. Always full of life, fun and curiosity for the world around her. Soothingly, the older girl sat drawing circles upon the younger sister’s head.
“Alice?” Looking down at the figure in her lap, Alice stopped drawing the circles and sat up a little straighter.
“Yes Luna?” she replied, Luna sat up and turned her big, curious eyes to Alice.
“How will people remember me when I die?” Everything was silent for a moment, only the faint sound of wind running through the branches could be heard.
“What do you mean?” Alice looked curiously at her younger sister, as the younger turned her head away. Looking through the branches at the beautiful red the sky had turned.
“How will people know I lived?” How will I prove I existed? Alice herself had never thought about it before. Looking around Alice noticed all the vibrant life that had once been here had withered away, yet a few flowers stayed strong. The small flowers that her sister was clutching.
Alice remembered the day when Luna was born.
Nurses and doctors rushed back and forwards, as Alice’s dad paced in the corridor. Alice sat, swinging her legs, as she couldn’t touch the ground on her seat. Her mother’s pained cries echoed loudly off the walls, making Alice and her dad cringe every time they heard it. Pulling a face the blonde decided then and there that she didn’t want a baby.
Hours and minutes went by, before finally the pain died and the cries of life filled the entire hospital. The heads of both father and daughter snapped towards the door, Alice’s dad wasted no time in grabbing Alice’s hand and dashing into the room.
There lay her mother, pained and tired, but smiling at the bundle of joy that lay in her arms. Picking her up, Alice’s dad moved towards the bed. Sitting Alice on it, before sitting on the edge of it himself. Never tearing his eyes from the baby.
“Meet your little sister Alice. This is our little Luna.”
Alice remembered the attention.
The blonde stood there, a pout plastered to her face looking towards the small baby being fussed over by the adults. They hadn’t even noticed she was wearing her new dress! Luna fussed and wriggled as the adults played with her, talking to her in a gibberish language that no human, baby or not, would ever understand. It was like this for a long time. Luna always got all the attention now.
Alice remembered her and her father talking about it.
“I’m sorry baby girl, it’s just because Luna is so small and fragile that we need to take extra special care of her. You’re becoming a big girl now so you can start doing things on your own! It’s all a part of growing up Alice. And now you’re a big sister! You need to teach little Luna all about life, and protect her so she doesn’t make the mistakes you made. So she can have a good life. Just like we did with you.” Though, at the time, she did not quite understand her father’s words, she knew one thing.
Alice liked the idea of being a big sister.
“A-Alice.” The blonde opened her tired eyes and gazed at the small, shivering form in front of her.
Alice remembered the nightmares.
“Had a nightmare?” asked the older girl, yawning. Luna nodded and wiped tears from her eyes. Smiling a little, Alice sat up, gathered the younger girl in her arms and lay down with her, cuddling her tight.
“Shh. It’s okay. We all dream about bad things. But it’s alright now; I’ll make sure all the bad things go away.”
She remembered all the times she had with Luna. Even the bad.
“Alice. L-Luna is very ill. She’s got a very bad sickness called cancer.” Her mother muttered between sobs, Alice’s eyes widened dramatically. Everyone knew what cancer was. Thirteen year old Alice had learned all about it at school.
There was no real cure.
Alice remembered watching slowly as Luna’s life slowly decayed in front of her. She was constantly tired, and couldn’t do the things she used to; she remembered how upset Luna had been when her hair had started falling out from the chemotherapy.
She stopped going to school and stayed at home all the time. Alice didn’t do much either. Dedicating all her time to Luna whenever it was possible. Her mother and father kept saying Luna was going to get better, but Alice knew, deep down, that Luna wasn’t going to. Luna knew too.
They had had one too many scares.
“Are you in pain?”
“Can you hear us?”
“Please! Please! Wake up!”
None of Luna’s friends stayed… Their parents didn’t want them friends with a dying girl. Alice’s parents refused to talk to Luna about these things, seven year olds shouldn’t be talking about death or funerals to their parents. Or asking about if there was a heaven or hell. Then again they shouldn’t be dying either. Alice was the only person she would ask these questions too.
Which lead to their current predicament.
Alice stared at the girl a few seconds more, deciding the truth was the right thing to say.
“Not everyone will remember us when we die. Only the people who loved us will remember us, because when we die, only memories and their love for us will remain.” Alice wasn’t sure at first if Luna understood, but when Luna turned and smiled towards her she knew she did.
Alice lay against the tree, and Luna crawled back over and lay on her chest. Wrapping her arms tight around Luna, Alice kissed her sister’s head. The blonde girl thought carefully about the words she just said, as much as she believed them; she would like her life to end with a simple ‘she died’. That would suffice for her.
“I don’t want to die Alice.” The older girl could feel the younger trembling in her arms, tears quickly fell from her red,puffy eyes and rolled down her cheek.
“I want to stay. And laugh and play with you every day Alice! With everyone. And be happy every day!” Sobbed wracked through the body of the sick young girl, Alice held her baby sister as close and tight to her as possible. Rocking her back and forth. “I want to go to school! And have friends! I don’t want to be alone!”
“I will never let you be alone Luna. Until the very last moment we have together, I will never leave you. And until the moment you leave me, I am never going to stop smiling because I know you’ll be watching me. I want you to keep smiling that beautiful smile you have every day okay?” Alice could barely hold back her own tears, but for the sake of Luna she did.
Who knows how long they sat there, Alice cradling Luna to her chest, rocking her back and forwards. Alice’s hold on Luna never weakened. It stayed as strong as their bond, a bond between sisters. A bond between friends. Everything was disappearing for Luna… It came to the point where she could no longer hear. But she knew that the hands holding her close were saying ‘I love you’.
Luna smiled to herself, her tears long gone as she listened to Alice’s strong heart beat; so, so much stronger than her own.
“Thank you for my life.”
Luna was a happy girl, til the end of her days. Until the final chapter of her story was complete. It was written beneath the willow tree.