Life in its very essence belongs to us all. It can be turned upseide down; riding the tides of emotion, or be as still as the mist which cradles the shoreline on early winter morings. It casts veils of doubt, or visions of glory, touches our hearts, our souls, out inner most being, which onward strives until our last breath expires.
Near our home, there is a beach beyond the outer pier which has work sea-battered breakwaters, high enough to sheild behind when the gusting wind has a sharp bite. All the beaches have a vague similarity, or is it my familiarity having spent most of my childhood days absorbed in playing, exploring and combing for flotsam n jetsam. Whenever time stood still it was here.
It was on one such happy spring day, a day full of hope, a day where the eyes of love sees sunshine through rain.
The day we met.
Since early childhood Dave and I had shared many playful days on these shores. He is my best friend and I cherish him dearly. That day though was diferent. There was a sense of maturity. We didn’t have the urge to build sand castles. Instead, our emotions were stirred; mine into thoughts unknown before. I found myself staring, staring into his deep blue eyes, confused yet wildly excited. A strange but wonderfully comfortable feeling which sent my heart a flutter swept over me, I was in love.
My day dreaming was suddenly interrupted when Dave, with his masculine hands, carressed my shoulders and gently stroked the palms of my upturned hands and said, “I need to talk to you about something.” His voice was tender and carried low dulcet tones which aroused my couriosity. He sounded as though he was about to share someting which required courage. My heart skipped a beat. Thousands of thoughts immediatly buzzed in my head. He looked deep into my eyes and faltered,
“What, what is it?” I asked nerviously. Silence fell between us. The atmosphere changed. The sea side tranquility around us was now surged with a chilled air and our visions blurred into a monet painting.
“What is it Dave?” Dave gave a fleeting glance towards the horizion. His hands now clenched so tight that his knuckles so white.
I shivered but in an instant an amazing wave of calm filled my being as we started to walk slowly, crushing the pebbles and shells beaneath our feet.
He walked with his eyes focused on the ground. I halted, turned his face to mine, he looked so serious. Grabbing my hand again we walked on quicker, now trembleing.
We came to an equally abrubt halt where rocks begin to climb great hights towards ancient ruins of an old fort.
Sheltered from the sea spray I pleaded, “Dave you can tell me whats on you mind.” The silence was piercing, A chilling wind swept round my feet.
“I have been diagnosed with Sarcoma, it is a rampant form of cancer.” Dave paused, looked away and took a deep breath. I was speechless. My heart was numbed, full senseless, I was choaked.
He turned to me with tears flooding his crystal eyes, “I don’t have long to live Beth. I am going to die!”
We collapsed into each others arms. The air was now thoroughly chilling. The sea spray hiding the tears we now shared. My cool calm, collected self was now a shaking ball of sorrow. I couldn’t blieve that someone so precious in my life was telling me this. I couldn’t ask for details, I didn’t want to. Everything in my life felt so insignificant. I couldn’t start to think what pain he was feeling.
We were huddleld close from the breeze, I looked into his dark eyes, so unlike before; Concious of the salty taste of sea and tears and noticing for the hundreth time the tiny innocent freckle on the end of his nose.
Could I tell him how I truely felt? Should I? Simultaneously we rose to our and held hands, silently we slid down the shale and shingle to the gentle sandy banks and made our way home.
That night I cried, I couldn’t control the emotion, I was drowned in tears of hopelessness. I closed my eyes to be tormented with a rollercoaster of flash backs, scenes of beautiful days as if they were saying goodbye to my new life couldn’t imagine my life with-out him.
Morning came, I don’t remember going to sleep. I strechted out of bed and caught a glimpse in the mirror I looked a wreck. My skin was tired and drained. My curtains were opened and as I gazed outside a small brid was hopping around the garden in search of food. I wish I was a bird, able to take off and fly away. I could just glide through the sky over the trees darting above the crashing waves of the perrishing sea.
The following week was so strange. Dave was his usual self, but I now knew why he often frowned and never talked about the future.
I tried so hard to block out the love I felt for him, but it was useless.
It has been many weeks since Dave shared his devastaing news. We have watched the spring tides heave and sigh while sat on the shores’ scattered rocks, surrounded with seaweed. We dabbled in pools and shared easter eggs in ‘our cave’. Now the warm summer sun, gentle and soothing allows the feeling of security, however false, sweep over us, as I notice a faint bronzing of Daves’ thining body when we swim in the fresh water at our special place. A magical weekend.
I woke early this moring. The summer dawns are bright and cheery. A ray of warm sun peeped through my curtains caressing the picture of Dave and I on the beach. I looked away from the image and sighed.
That afternoon I went to visit Dave. When I arrived at the door his mum looked tired, warn out.
“Hi, erm…is Dave home?” I said quietly.
“Hello Beth, Dave is not up to seeing visitors today,” I looked down to the grey, rough step. My hopes seeping away from my heart down and out my toes.
An interuption in the background disturbed my empty thought as Dave called to let me through. His mum glanced at me in horror, “He isn’t well Beth.”
I nodded and wispered. “Don’t worry.”
I walked into the house and closed the door. I didn’t know what to expect but I knew I wanted to bring some hapiness into his life. However, I was face with an unberable sight. Dave was so white. His stillness ominous. I had to stay strong. It was my turn to be the rock.
I sat by his side, he attempted to rise out of bed but was too weak. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to act of make things seem fine. How do you make someone who is near to death see the bright side of light.
“How…how are you?” I felt so pathetic, it was probably the worst thing to say, but I couldn’t bear anymore aggitated pauses. I sat by his side for hours, not saying much, but for the first time words didn’t matter. The silences became comfortable. I glance now and then over to his face, just for a moment so his face drained face didn’t become fixated. It became dark. I walked over to the window and piered through to the soft skies light up by the romantic moon rised and sailing above us.
“I must go Dave,” I gathered my coat off the chair.
“Wait Beth, I want you to have this.” He lifted up a leather bounded scrap book.
“What in it?”
“The good times.”
I looked at him, smiled and said. “We had a lot of those haven’t we? but we haven’t painted the town completely red yet, we still have a long way to go.” I wasn’t sure if I should have mentioned the future. But I couldn’t cope with the possibility of this being the last moments we would share.
“Will you just promise me that you’ll continue to paint and complete the picture, even with out me?”
I couldn’t think of a reply. Deep down I wanted to tell him how I feel. But how could I think of myself?
As he handed me the scrap book, he started to chough excessively. I didn’t know what to do. I sat him up straight and rubbed his back. I could see every brittle bone in his body. The coughing stopped.
“Thank you Beth, you are so special.” I was exposed to the real amount of pain he was in, tears welled up my eyes. I convinced myself I had to tell him . Not today though, not now. He needs sleep. I blew a kiss as I left the room.
Several weeks passed. Dave didn’t return to school. It was so lonely. Everyone felt the reality of what life and friends meant.
October came, leave floated gentle curled like boats from every tree in the hospital gardens.
Dave had been admitted to the local general hospital to stabilise his drug therapy and for his commfort. His mum and dad phoned to say he was coming home today and would I call later in the day.
I arrived to find Dave so frail and thin. I could hardly recognise the figure before mem as he slpet, I listened to his altered breating. I went to the bedroom, window over the roofs, the moon was rising. It was a curious orange . Even in great cities people called it a harvest moon. I saw his profile reflect against the dark sky as the light shadowed across his bed for the loft beams.
He stirred quietly, yawning a faint ‘hello’. Mrs Jones left the room. Sorrow filled my face. “What is it” Dave asked. “I am scared that this is the last time that i am going to see you Dave”.
“It could well be Beth, but what have you got to be scared about?”
” I’m scared you will die not knowing how I feel about you.” I took a deep breath, looked into his tired eyes, “I love you Dave, I always have and always will. You are the perfect reflection, my life.” His breath was quieter now, his eyes were shutting closed. He opened his eyes and looked at my lips, with his last effort of strength he lifted his hand and touched them.
“Shh shh, I know Beth there is no need to worry”
Our eyes were locked upon each other. My heart was beating faster as his was beating slower. His eyes turned warm and happy. “I love you so much Beth, I will never forget the love that we have shared and the good times we have shared together” He closed his eyes and became still, my tears fell on his pillow. “No No i cried”
His mum was at my side, her voice like somebody in fear of drowning. a sound so full of despair as she collapsed in a heap over his resting body. Stunned I looked at her weak body, she was so white. I swallowed the hugh lump in my throat and put my arms around her and rocked her to and fro. Before I left the room i turned my head, wiped the teras from my eyes and whispered “Good Bye”
The autumn walks were lonely and as the star stunned skies turned to wild winter clouds and the snow capped hills shone like diamonds, my emotions were calming down, as the sea calms after a storm. The water still heaves and can make you seasick but the dangerous waves no longer crash. Besides I have a promise to keep!
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