Diaries Magazine

Ch 8 - i Was Never Alone, Anyway

Posted on the 04 April 2013 by Mavie
Doctor Matthew fidgeted outside the waiting room. He had done seen this many times before but had only done it a handful of times himself. He rehearsed what he would say, I’m so sorry. We did everything we could…That was the standard opening he would deliver.He took a deep breath and pushed open the door. Em’s mother jumped up, panic set in her wild eyes. “What happened? Is Em… Is she…?” She gurgled through the rising bile in her throat.“I’m so sorry…we…”And with those words, the bile rose up until it threatened to consume her. Em’s mother leant forward and vomited onto the shiny lino. Doctor Matthew jumped back. He could stand everything but the acerbic stench of regurgitated food. He reached behind him and grabbed a box of tissues. Taking another deep breath, he held it in and arced around the vomit, placing the box on the armrest. Then he hurried from the room and closed the door behind him.Twenty minutes later, there was a knock at his office door.“Please, come in.” He motioned to Em’s mother to take a seat on the leather armchair on the other side of his desk. The pale woman slumped into the chair and stared blankly at the doctor. “I’m so sorry. About being sick over your shoes…”“No, no. Please it’s quiet alright. Understandable under the circumstances.” He paused, then braced himself for his explanation. “We tried everything we could, but there was just too much bleeding.”He eyed the shredded tissue in her tight palms. Her arms shook slightly and her cheeks appeared sunken. “Where is she?” she whispered hoarsely.“We have transferred her to the morgue. It’s in the basement. You can see her if you wish.”“What went wrong?”The doctor rearranged his thoughts. He had to put it as delicately as possible, leave out the gore and technicality of it all. “The tumour had embedded itself into her brain. It didn’t show in any of the tests. It’s only when I got in and tweaked a few things, did I see that it would be impossible to extract the whole tissue.”“Why didn’t you just leave it? Stitch her back up.” Em’s mother sniffed as a mental image of the operation surfaced.“Would you rather I didn’t try?” The doctor spoke gently. “I want her back. I want her alive and happy.” A sob escaped startling the doctor.He reached across his desk and bore serious eyes into hers. “Em was happy. She loved her life and she loved you. But nothing good ever lasts. We all have to go one day. If not now, then who knows when? You must acknowledge that you had a rare chance to say goodbye. Not many people get that.”“She was too young. How can someone so young die?” Her voice wobbled as the tears spilled into her trembling lap.“I’ve seen babies die. You had long glorious years with her. Now she’s moved on, somewhere better. She’s with her dad now. She’s not alone.”“She wasn’t alone here. She had me...She had me. Why did she go?”“Your Allah works in mysterious ways.” Was all the doctor could think to say.***Em’s mother sat on the prayer mat. It was the middle of the night but she couldn’t stop praying. She had cried through her evening prayer and had bowed before her creator begging for her child back. She knew it was impossible, she knew once someone passes over they never come back. But she had nothing else to do. She prayed for a miracle, she prayed that she too would cross over and be with her family. As she bowed her head again she felt a shiver run down her spine. A tingle so strong that couldn’t be ignored. She raised her head and looked around the room. There was that presence again, the same feeling that had overcome her in the waiting room. “Em?” She hazarded a guess.“Mum? Can you see me?” I crouched down beside Mum.“Em?” Mum wailed loudly. She stood and rushed to the door. The hallway was empty. “Em?” She asked in a quieter voice. “I’m here. Here Mum. Please, please look at me.” I begged from behind her.The room grew still, the silence overpowering.Her mother sighed and returned to the mat. I followed and sat down beside her, reaching out to gingerly touch the covered shoulder that trembled with grief.“It’s okay Mum. I’m okay. I’m still here.”My fingers floated right through her shoulder as if I had swept my hand through air. Mum shivered and I hastily pulled back. I didn’t want to cause her any more pain. I knew I shouldn’t be here, but no one had come to show me the way. I had waited at the hospital, I had waited as Mum shuffled to the morgue and O had waited while she broke down upon seeing my pale blue body lying on the cold steel slab.I was more than ready to meet my dad. In fact, I was ready to meet whatever force controlled the other side. But I needed help and Zac had failed to come to my aid.“I miss you Mum.” I said simply wishing she could hear me. I wished I could lie in her lap and reassure her that everything would be fine. Instead I decided to take a stroll through the house, I wanted to experience it one last time in case I didn’t make it through the night. My tour ended in my old bedroom, it had been a while since I was here last. It still looked the same as I left it all those weeks ago. How things had changed so quickly. I brushed a hand through the jacket that I wore the night of the carnival. The smooth fabric triggered a memory and something clicked. The old man. The carnival. He had said something about enjoying life and not wasting time. Why hadn’t I gone back to question him further? I was well aware that it might not have made much of a difference to the result but at least I would have cherished each and every moment better.Devastated, I crumpled to the floor. The pain in my heart was excruciating. I had suffered long enough as it was, and now I just wanted it to be over. A noise downstairs caught my attention. Floated through her closed door and out onto the bright landing, I started down the stairs. It was daylight outside. When had that happened? Did I fall asleep? I didn’t know, but went downstairs to investigate. The kitchen was full of relatives, they were all dressed in sombre colours. Mum was at the breakfast bar sipping a cup of tea. It was the next morning but I had no idea where last night went. Deciding that I must have fallen asleep, I let it go and watched the preparations for my impending funeral.***My body had been washed and covered in a simple white sheet. Both my mom and aunt had taken the responsibility of preparing my body for burial. I had no choice but to stand by and sob as the emotions flicker across my grieving relatives faces. There was shock, anger and sorrow. Mum seemed to be working on auto-pilot, she didn’t speak to anyone but carried out her duties as a soldier who had been given orders that he did not agree with.Once my body was prepared, four hulking men walked into the room and lifted it into the awaiting coffin. The coffin was only for transportation purposes, earlier I had heard the men discussing how they would remove the body and bury it directly in the ground with only the white sheet for protection.The coffin was carried out and Mum let out a small cry. It was too much to take in so I floated upstairs and crumpled onto my bed. Back downstairs Mum’s sister held her tight and led her through the front door, just steps behind her daughter’s body. The remaining women idled by the door, they would stay behind and pray. In Islam, women were advised not to go to the graveyard. Em’s mother had chosen to ignore that rule, she didn’t want her only child to be alone on her first night in the ground.  Moments later, I found myself standing next to my father’s sunken grave. I had often visited his grave and was familiar with the cemetery which would also be my final resting place.  His dark headstone was etched with his details and fresh flowers lay at its base. Alongside it was another gravestone, but this one lay flat on the ground, it had yet to be fixed in place. The marble was a beautiful shade of black, and I gasped when my name swam into focus, it was carved in big capital letters. Even though I knew I had died, it came as a nasty blow to actually see it in print. My name, on my headstone, was something else entirely. It jolted my heart to break once more and I sank to the ground beside the open hole where my shrouded body would be placed. In the distance, a loud crunching announced that mourners had arrived. I looked up as my relatives carried the black coffin through the wide open gates. Mum’s feet barely moved, she was being half held, half dragged by two male cousins. Her face was frozen in time but that didn’t stop the silent tears from splashing on her trembling chest. I stood up. This was it. My time had finally arrived. I would be buried here and for the first time, I would be alone.

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