by Rose Grey
With six months left…
|Two weeks had passed as normally as they could with what I knew always in the back of my mind. It was there, no matter how I tried to ignore it. Make it out to be some nightmare.
Six months. It just popped into my head one night at work. That’s when it hit me. That was my dead line. The due date on my life. So much shorter then the normal framework of time for the average human, I guess that wouldn’t make me average. What it made me was nothing more then a young woman waiting for her time to be up. Six months I’d been told was the maximum time I had left and I had just spent two weeks of it in denial. I suppose that was a healthy response to such news, it isn’t like someone is prepared to hear that their life has an approaching deadline. Especially not when one expected to have a long time before such things needed to be worried about.
A lifetime. I had six months to complete a lifetime. How could I accomplish such a thing? It would be impossible to do everything I had dreamed of doing though out my years. So much I would miss out on.
“Are you alright?” came the familiar voice of a co-worker.
Looking up at the dark haired woman from where I knelt beside an unopened box, “It’s all true. It’s just all true…”
I felt the water swell into my eyes. No matter how much I blinked it leaked over the brim into tears. How could I explain this to her? We weren’t close, I could possibly call her a friend but we hadn’t a deep bond. Nothing like my long time friend Rina, who would have known exactly what I’d been talking about. I knew I had to explain my reaction, but also knew I didn’t want news of the truth wandering around the building. I chose to tell her a stretched version of the truth, there was nothing else for me to do.
“Someone…very close to me was given news…saddening news…it just finally hit me, that’s all.”
“Should you be here then?”
I sighed wondering the same thing. A heavy weight seemed to have come down upon my body and nausea was rising in my stomach with each thought about my position. Should I ask to leave?
Glancing at my watch I noted there was only an hour before our next break. I would work until then. At five I will request to go home early, I was sick. Which was the truth.
“No, I don’t believe I should be…”
I went back to work, not wanting a longer conversation the situation was awkward enough as it was.
“That seems best right now. I hope everything works out for the best for you.”, The woman smiled softly.
Turning to her I smiled at her, “Thank You.”
She had no idea what was really happening. None at all and that was just fine. I didn’t need people to know this, not those here anyway. At least not everyone. There was one person I wanted to talk to before my time was up and he normally left at five. I only hoped that I would be able to do it. Over the last year and a half that I’ve worked here, I could barely speak to him. Now I had to. Just to know what would happen if I approached him. With limited time left, what did I really have to lose?
Five o’clock was nearly at hand as my mind wound it’s way around what I should do. Starting a relationship now would be pointless, other then to be painful for the other person. I’d been debating if I should even speak to Jaden or simply leave things as they are. Would it hurt too much just to see if he’d be willing to get together once? As friends.
Sighing I took down my jacket, the weather was frightfully cold these last months of the year. Of all times for such news to come. At least I’d be able to spend one final Christmas with my family.
The voice startled me and I looked up to see Jaden.
“Yeah, not feeling too good.”
“I hope you feel better then.” he told me then made his way toward the door.
I pulled on my jacket and clocked out as quickly as I could, but tried not too seem too hurried, then went out the door. Jaden was already in his car, sighing I began the walk to my own car knowing deep down that this was for the best. Leaving things as they were would be better for both of us. This way was for the best.
I hadn’t returned to work after I left early that day. There had only been a week until Christmas anyway, so I chose to take my sick time. The closest I got to working was coming in to fill out the paper work for my sick time, to get paid for my hours. I might as well leave behind as much as I can.
The holiday had been filled with both joy and sadness, but I tried to keep everyone’s spirits high. There was no need to cry, not now. I was still here, we could still enjoy this gathering of family. Nothing should stop that joy, not even the inevitable.
Today I stood at the fence at my friend’s house staring out at my gray Arabian gelding. Tears slid down my face just looking at him. Knowing that he wouldn’t fully understand where I’d went. That he might not forget me, but would resent me. He would believe that I just up and left with no good reason. Just like Jack would. I will never get to show the colt. Never see him grown up. Barely even see him in his summer coat. I will never get to have a puppy from the co-owned boxer with my friend. Never see Ziggy and her other puppies all grown up. At least I wouldn’t have to live through Molly being gone, sadly she would have to live without me. My poor Molly. I love that dog. I love all of my friends dogs. The poor things will wonder why I don’t come around any more. Just like the horses. At least I know they’ll be well cared for here.
Then there’s Sam. My friend’s daughter. I feel worst for all those who care about me. Worse then I do for myself since they will have to endure the pain much longer then I’ll ever have to. It would be nice to be able to lighten that load for them, but I know that can not be done. It is another inevitable thing. At least I have managed to convince two of my friend’s husbands to allow them to take a two week trip with me. We’re going to take a cruise, something I’ve always wanted to do. At least this will leave three people I care about with a good memory to recall, rather then just dwindling last months. My closest friends, this will be a great trip.
A mass of poster board and pictures lay spread out before me as I sat on the floor in the side room in my parents New Hampshire home. I had been here for three weeks now with my parents coming to visit me on most weekends. My sister, her boyfriend and my nephew came one weekend as well. I will eventually return home, but I needed some time away to remember the beautiful state where so many memories live.
The project began before I went on my cruise with my friends. It turned out to be a great trip and many photos from it will be included in this collage that I am creating. I had always loved making such things and thought it would be a good way to stroll down memory lane. There are so many things that I’ve done and would still love to do before my time was at its end. Some of those things were impossible dreams, but others were closer at hand.
Four months. As I sat there searching though old photos I couldn’t help but realize the time I had left. Two months had passed and no changes were made to my prognosis. At least I hadn’t expected any. There was no way I was going to get my hopes up, even if I have been feeling fine the last few weeks. It didn’t matter, it would only hurt more if I gave myself reason to believe the prediction was wrong. It was better to believe the worse until more appealing alternatives were given. That would be unlikely though, I knew.
Three days. The time until I head back home. My parents will come and get me this weekend. I will have much to do. See my animals, my family. Spend time with my sister and nephew.
Poor little guy. He really will never know his only Aunt. I will never get to hear his first word. See him going off to school. Growing to be taller then me.
The tears feel softly down my cheeks. There was too much for me too miss. Too much.
I tried not to think about it by sifting though the images spread out before me. Then I came upon one that only brought up more sadness.
Grandpa. These times are very hard on him. We’re very close and it pains me to see him so sad. Nana. At least she won’t know the difference, not truly anyway. There are already times when she doesn’t seem to realize who I am. Such an awful disease, at least it will keep her from suffering due to me. Even if it would be better if she never end up with it.
Sighing I tried to think of the good times. That was all I could do. Picking up the picture of my Grandparents I found a spot for it among the other groupings of images I’d already placed. The perfect spot.
I have been back at home for a few weeks now, taking time out of working on my project to spend time with family and friends. What else was really important right now? Not much else, at least not for me except for keeping up good spirits. While seeing all my friends and family produced happiness, it also reminded me that all too soon I’d never see them again. That hurt. Yet it wouldn’t stop me from spending all the time I could with them before my time was up. They were all too important to me.
Between visits and working on the project, I attempted some writing. To actually finish some projects that I had started before they would be left untouched forever. I have made only a bit of progress on this. Although, my collage, that is going quite well. In fact it is nearly complete.
The images left to be used were spread out around me as were the poster boards filled with pictures. Glancing at each photograph I contemplated where it could go and if it would work among the sea of other images already planted. Finally my gaze came across an image of myself as a young girl. I lingered on it realizing just how much I had grown since that photo was taken. So much time had passed, yet so little was left. Closing my eyes I knew that this project was over. That, that one image was the final piece to this puzzle I had been creating.
Picking up the photograph I found the perfect spot, right next to the most recent image of just myself. It had been taken my one of my friends on our cruise. I stood at the railing staring out at the vast ocean. Little did she know that I had been thinking about how much water there was compared to the amount of time I had left. The oceans of the world were far greater then the time I had left to give this world.
Fixing the photo in the proper place I mixed the poster boards around the stood up, looking down at them I knew all that was left was to frame each one. The flowing mass of glossy images. My life. All that was left to it was a frame.
I only hope everyone enjoys this.
Placing the frames around each poster board I knew my family and friends would truly enjoy this history of my life. The things that I thought were most important to be remembered.
They will enjoy it, I know.
Turning the last framed collage over I sat staring at it and couldn’t help but feel that the simple act of putting a tangible border around something so simple meant so much more.
How true that was. All too much like my life with the short tangible border that remained.
For Round Six: