Leaf Girl

9/1/2016 4:51:02 PM
written By : Roopal Kondepudi Print

“When I die, I want you to turn me into a tree.”

“If you die,” he corrected.

“Nonsense. We’re all going to die one day, and my day will just be sooner than most people’s.”

She got lucky this time. A bed by the window. Through the glass she can see October leaves shake violently, threatening to fall off.

She feels like those leaves. All the time.

A knock sounds on the door, and her head turns. He smiles, but it’s one of those sad smiles, one that says I’m trying to be brave for us both. 

She doesn’t smile back.

He takes a seat at the foot of the bed. Puts his hand where he thinks her knee is. But she recoils from his touch. She cannot bear to feel it. He leaves his hand on the starched bedsheet, pretending nothing’s just happened.

For a long time they just sit and stare at each other. Saying nothing, voicing no feelings, expressing no opinions.

“How are you feeling today?” He breaks the silence.

“N-not bad.” Her voice is unused, rusty. It takes a few tries for her to get the sounds out.

He leans forward and smoothes the hair – what little was left of it – back from her forehead. “Glad to hear it.”

She cannot stop the tear from falling.

The door closes with a soft click as he leaves, and she is left alone in the room once more. They’d spoken little. He’d reminded her to take her medicines and to drink lots of water. As though that would help. They both know where she was headed. He was trying too hard to keep up hope.

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