Written in response to The Creative Ink, writing prompt, September 6th.
Photograph credits to Seth Macey on Unsplash.
I love you, I do. All I was trying to do was get to you. I promise.
I didn’t know then, what I know now, it was a mystery to me as it will be to you. I didn’t realise until it was too late. I doubt this will ever make it to you, but if it does, please listen to my words, for me. I’m just so sorry.
There was a bitter cold that chased the warmth from my body. There was a sharp wind that pricked my sides with a similar cold, spurring me onwards and I kept going, trying to make it to you. The horizon was all I could see and it was relentless in continuing onwards and onwards. I could see no other lights than those that shone from the stars. There was no other hope for me to make it there, unless I followed the path and walked away from my footprints, which were already rapidly being filled in by snow, but even the direction of forward was a guess and the path was little more than a small continuous mound covered than snow. The car had broken down far away from where I am now, I had made it so far, I thought I would make it to you. I wished I would make it in time.
I kept walking, trudging, sliding onwards while my hope of my survival dwindled further away, but I refused to give up. I’ve always remained stubborn. Haven’t I my love?
In the corner of my eye, I could see a glinting catching my eye and my spirits lifted as I turned my head to see it and I could swear to the heavens that I saw someone standing there, just over two hundred metres ahead of me behind all the falling snow. I followed my hopes and started following the person. I hoped against hope that they would wait, but when I finally met where they had been I couldn’t find any footprints. But I could still see the figure, closer now. Much closer. Even closer. I kept walking and the distance between us shortened gradually. I could see their long black hair whipping around them halo like as it surrounded her from behind, while a denim jacked flapped around her sides. I called out to her, asking for help, yelling for her to stop and wait for me, begging her to slow down, but she didn’t stop, she kept walking ignoring my pleading or deaf to it all. Finally I reached her, and I tapped her on her shoulder.
She turned around to face me finally and she showed me what was in her hands, holding it out towards me. Her hair continued to shift and turn, covering her face in the wind. I told her she needed to find warmer clothes, but she refused to acknowledge my words, and proceeded to pass what was in her hands closer towards me. I continued to tell her that we would die in the cold out here, as she passed a clock closer to me.
I took the clock, and as I looked at it, trying to make sense of it, I looked back to her, to see her turned back and walking into the thick snow. I ran to catch up but neither her nor any indication of her presence other than the clock in my hands. I continued running, desperate, frantic, I felt my frozen bones cracking and crunching under the new effort. I screamed in dismay. I was lost hopelessly lost. She had gone and all I had was a clock. A clock. I looked down at the clock and realised that three hand had stopped. I hesitated, wondering what the last hand was for. But I knew I couldn’t stop moving for long.
They say that when you die, you see your whole life flash before your eyes within seconds. But how would they know? Those who say it haven’t died just yet. I know otherwise, I do. In reality, you have twelve hours to say your farewells, see the places you loved, the people you loved, the memories you loved. I could have curled up on the sofa with you one last time. Or spent time on the beach collecting driftwood. I could have caressed the top of your head and smelt the Parmaviolet smelling hair, you say reminds you of your grandmother, while I kissed it. Those twelve hours should have been a gift, it is worth making the most of it instead of moping about the end or not even realising you’ve died. It’s hard, but I know it will be harder for you, there is more you will have to leave. I will see you on the other side.
It is probably best to die with family by your bed at a ripe old age, all pruned like a raisin and going in sleep. However, that is for the lucky, most of us go alone, painfully or somewhere unfamiliar. I know dying with family gives you the opportunity to kiss their cheeks goodbye, it lets you pretend all is normal for the time that you have left. But it makes it worse saying goodbye too, knowing they thought your presence was only a small breeze, that they mourn your death and will not find easy comfort, that you could have changed the outcome. But your thread is cut when it is, they only wind round the clock so many times until it stops, giving you the final full circle until you move on.
I wish I could have been with you there. I wish the car hadn’t broken down, or that I had gone there with you instead of another day of work. I should have been there anyway. I wish I had had another route. But know that I would die cold and alone again and again if there was any hope of seeing you and our child.
I didn’t know then as I continued walking, lost, cold and scared, that I had died much sooner. I kept walking and wasted my final hours where I could have relived memories, or watched a sunset the last time, enjoyed the snow like a child or looked at the individual snow flakes. In the end, in the last few minutes of my twelve hours, I found the woman again. She took my hand and told me to breathe, stay calm, she gave many soothing, calming words while explaining what had happened. Then she lead me up to the endless night, I kept turning around trying to catch sight of the hospital, before finally, it all slipped away from my vision.
I know these words are only said in my mind. But it is what happened to me. I don’t want another person to fade away like I did, fade away with out saying goodbye. I hope that somehow these thoughts echo their way to wherever you are, to let you know, to tell you to make the most of your last twelve hours, it will mean everything to you when you get here.
I loved you, I still do. I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the hospital in time. I’m sorry I went out into the snow. I’m sorry. I love you. I hope you know that. I wish more than anything I could have been there, that I could have grown old with you and looked after our little one too. But life is cruel.
I’ll say it again, I’ll never stop loving you. I’m waiting here for you,