“Stay with us Florence. Hey hey hey, keep your eyes open. Look up. At the light, look, look.” I could feel myself being pushed into the ambulance with the EMT struggling to keep the stretcher moving in the right direction. The road was too bumpy. Chasing behind them I could hear Violet sobbing. “She’s touch and go” someone was saying. At that point I couldn’t stay awake anymore. I was freezing. But it hurt too much to shiver. Honestly, it even hurt too much to blink. My memory was as blurry as my vision. I hate not knowing things. I needed to know what had happened. I needed to know what had put me in that state of immense pain. Pain that I couldn’t have imagined myself in a couple hours ago. I couldn’t even move my neck to look at Vi. “Ma’am please. We’re going to need you to step out of the way.” someone told her. I could hear her shuddering in what was either fear or dismay. All I could think about is how much I love her. I wanted to reach out to hold her hand so she could tell me everything would be alright. And then I would look into her eyes and make sure she really did believe that everything would be alright. But that’s when I passed out. That’s all I could remember from that night. That’s all I can think about right now.
I can’t move. I can’t open my eyes. I can’t smile. I can’t even cry. All I can do is lie on this hospital bed like a corpse. I can hear every single bit of movement, every step and every tear shed. I don’t want anyone to cry for me. I’m right here! All I really want is to open my eyes so everyone can see that I’m okay. They need to see that I’ll be okay. And soon enough I’ll be able to open my mouth and actually tell them that. And then they can run into my arms filled with joy and finally be free of this stress. I want them to be able to feel the relief I can feel right now because I know everything will be okay. But they don’t know that. A ray of sunlight hits my face, my nurse must be opening the curtains. The heat is absolutely piercing but also comforting. Not being able to talk, move or speak is a helpless feeling but my hearing has never been stronger. A sharp sensation pokes into my arm. The burning feeling rushes through my veins and I really just want to shake off the pain but that’s a little difficult considering my current situation. It must be the IV needle. I’ve always hated needles.
A sudden sound of footsteps starts to walk closer to me but I can’t make out who it is. “What are you doing Fraser?” Violet asks. I didn’t think I could miss someone’s voice so much but wow. I wish I could tell her to keep talking. I can feel him holding my hand. Again, I did not think I could miss small things like this so much until now. “My sister has always hated needles.” Fraser finally responds. I hope he can feel me smiling at him right now. “You think she actually felt that needle?”. It’s really nice to actually hear Renée’s voice again. I always found it adorable how shy she is. She barely ever speaks and yet every moment with her has always been an adventure. Everyday I’m so thankful to have met her on the first day of third grade. Our gym teacher assigned us as partners to hold down eachother’s feet to do push-ups. She did them so flawlessly and I on the other hand still can’t do a single sit-up or push-up.
Being in this state is awfully depressing but I also love being able to reflect on everything. Usually I’d end up getting distracted and then going on my phone but this way I have no choice but to get lost in my thoughts. I also love being able to hear everything for once. Not that I can’t hear in general. But more like being able to hear the sounds of life. The sounds that make up this world. Listening to a nurse roll a wheelchair a few steps away. Listening to Violet’s heartbeat when she’s laying next to me. And listening to Renée read the Twilight Saga books to me. As the hours go by it seems that the room just gets quieter and quieter. No one really spoke to each other from the start but now it just feels like the walls are closing in. But it’s not closing in on me. I feel immortal. But the walls are closing in on Fraser, Vi and Renée. The tension just keeps building.
“Y’know Violet, you were the one who was driving. The accident was your fault. How is it that you’re ok and Florence is the one who gets hurt?” Fraser pretty much yells. But no one responds. The room stays silent.
“I know it’s my fault. You think I don’t know that?” Violet cries. Wait no. But it wasn’t her fault. That truck came out of nowhere. Violet has never made a mistake when driving. Ever. She’s never even gotten a speeding ticket. She didn’t do anything wrong. But I don’t think she knows that. I hear her get up. Her footsteps start to walk towards me. I can feel the heat from her breath as she kisses my forehead. “I’m so sorry. It should’ve been me.” she whispers. Her footsteps start to walk away and the door quietly slams behind her.
She really believes this is her fault? It was completely the truck driver’s fault. He came out of nowhere. And it doesn’t matter which one of us would be in my position because either way one of us would be frozen in time and the other one would be hurting and blaming themselves.
“Fraser, you know it wasn’t her fault. And you also know that Violet is the only person that Florence dated that you actually like. She’s family. And she’s hurting just as much as you. She didn’t deserve to hear that. She clearly blames herself.” Thank god for Renée. Someone had to say it.
“I know. I didn’t mean it.” he finally responds
The hours go by too slowly. I can’t stand to hear nothing. It’s a suffocating feeling. Violet never came back. The once piercing sunlight begins to turn into a phantom-like darkness blanketing over everyone. Even though I’m technically already sleeping, the feeling of exhaustion willows through me. Hold up. Am I going to die if I fall asleep? Shit, shit, shit. Well I’m not taking that chance. Guess I’m staying awake. “Renée, go home. I’ll stay overnight. Freshen up, get some rest and come back tomorrow.” Fraser attempts to whisper. I don’t hear any response but I hear her get up and walk towards me. She wraps her arms around me and buries her head on my shoulder. She always gives the best hugs. Her footsteps begin to walk away and then I hear the door close.
I know Fraser won’t leave this room even if his life depended on it. He’s really protective of me especially since I moved in with him. By the time my parents divorced my brother was 19 and neither of them were stable enough to take care of me even though I was already 16. So he became my legal guardian. Even when the four of us lived together Fraser basically raised me. He knew all my allergies, he knew my favorite foods and he knew I hated tomatoes and celery. My parents didn’t even know that. I always think about how he had to grow up when we were both still kids. I remember being in 5th grade and Fraser was only in the 8th grade but he already had so much responsibility. He took care of me and he even had to take care of our parents. He’d stay up late and make sure they ate when they got home.
A couple years ago Renée’s parents kicked her out and Fraser took her in. The three of us have been living together for a while now and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted. Having roommates, staying up late and watching crime and mystery movies and going on road trips. And when I met Violet, she basically became family too and it’s been the four of us for a while. We always joked about how Fraser’s like the “mom” of the group. Violet and I are the hopeless romantics who sit on rooftops watching the sun come up and Renée’s the silent philosophical friend who’s always reading something new and knows pretty much everything. Soulmates don’t always mean romance. A soulmate could be someone or people that you feel free with. People who help you find yourself. When you’re with them it’s like you’d give up everything to just stay in that moment forever.
The sound of the door opening finally snaps me out of my thoughts. I can tell it’s Violet because of the tapping from her boots. We bought those together a few weeks ago and the sound of the heel tapping has been stuck in my head since then.
“Hey Vi” a low-pitched voice says. “How are you holding up?” she responds.
“I don’t know. When I’m sitting next to her and hearing her heartbeat I know she’ll be okay. But now I’m sitting a few steps away from her and I can’t even recognize her. How can a person be so filled with all of that happiness their whole life just to be silenced and casted aside like this. It’s like the universe abandoned her. I hate to admit it but when I think of her right now it feels like we’ve lost her a long time ago. It’s like she’s already ancient and we’re just staring at her corpse. It’s not fair to her. She’s always been the one to cheer us up when we’re down but when she’s down we’re just expected to sit and watch as if it’s a TV show? We don’t even know if she’s listening to us. We’re just expected to believe that everything is going to be okay. But we’re forgetting that we may have lost her the second that truck hit the two of you. We could be just filling ourselves with false hope because we’re too afraid to admit the opposite. We refuse to think that death isn’t possible. But the truth is we all have to face death at one point. And I hate to think that Florence had to face it sooner than she should’ve. She had a future ahead of her. A whole life including people who care about her unexplainably. She was the spark of light in our lives and now we’re forced to lose her like this.”
“You’re right. It sucks. It sucks for us and for her it’s completely unfair. And we can’t even do anything about it” a quiet voice finally utters. “When did you get here Ren?” Fraser asks.
“A little while ago. But I heard everything you said. You worded it perfectly. She really has been the light in our lives. I remember we met in third grade and all of you already know the story of how we met. But what she never admitted to anyone is how she was one of the first people I had really spoken to in a long time. I always hated people mostly because of stuff you guys already know but I don’t want to bring that up. But Florence really found a way to connect with me and she was the only person who really listened when I spoke. And I really do hate to think that we might lose her this way”
“ Guys please. I don’t want to hear how we’re going to lose her. I really don’t” Violet cries.
“I’m sorry about what I said yesterday. The accident wasn’t your fault at all. I know how much you care about her.” Fraser says.
I really hate that they have to think about this. It’s not fair. But at least they’re pulling themselves together.
“Guys.” Renée begins.
“Hm?” Fraser responds.
“I know we’re trying to ignore the topic but, if Florence is really gone are we going to fall apart too? We all met through her. She’s the glue that held us together. You’re her older brother. You’re her hero and thanks to you she’s the wonderful person we all see before us. I moved in with you guys when she saw me struggling. And I’m eternally thankful for you letting me move in with you guys. I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for her.” her voice begins to crack.
“You never have to thank me for that. We’re family. And hey c’mon. We don’t need to think about that” Fraser responds.
“No, let me finish. And Vi, you and her were definitely made for eachother. All of us connected because somehow she found us and we learned to understand each other. But that’s the thing. We’re here together thanks to her. If she ends up not being here with us within the next few days then are we going to end up going our separate ways? Fraser you have a job, a fiancée and the two of you are going to go off on your own now. And you’ll buy your own house and possibly have some kids and the thought of us will just be memories. Vi, you just finished art school and I know you’re going to go out and do great things. Soon your art will be in every museum with people willing to pay millions to buy it. And you guys know me. I’m not really great at anything. If I’m lucky I can get a job near here and maybe one day I’ll find a way to get out of this town. The point is we won’t be the same. The next time we see eachother may just be one of us finding the other’s instagram and wondering if we should reach out or not”
“I get it. We won’t be the same. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to drift apart does it?” Vi asks.
“Ren, no matter what happens we’re all going to be happy one day. Maybe not today or tomorrow or in the next few months. But we’re going to figure it out. And everyone hates when you say that about yourself. You’re one of the smartest people we know. Scratch that, you are the smartest person we know.” Fraser exclaims.
“Well if we’re talking about the depths of life then it’s my turn now. I know I’ve always seemed like a father figure in your lives but I’m really falling apart right now. I don’t even want to get married.”
“What?” Ren and Vi yell at the same time. Even I’m shocked. He never told me this. He really did do everything to make sure we thought of him as the most perfect person in the world.
“Well then why did you propose?” Renée asks.
“Because Eira’s pregnant. She wants to keep the baby. And I know she doesn’t want to get married either. But she does want to at least seem like her life is together as much as I do. I feel like I’m out of options. And no one is allowed to say anything about it. I’m not in the mood for advice.”
Complete silence. I hate it. And now I’m going to be an aunt. I better wake up soon because I need to be caught up to speed. Oh how I hate when everyone just sits there quietly. I can feel them just sitting there staring at me and I already know what each of them are doing. Fraser is sitting there with his head in his hands, the vein on his forehead popping out because that’s what happens when he’s stressed. Vi laying on the chair with her eyes closed fantasizing another scenario. And Ren trying to focus on her book but getting sidetracked by her thoughts. Each of them waiting for me to start a new conversation and change the topic. Are they ever going to learn to live without me?
A new set of footsteps walks into the room. Is it Eira? Well this is an interesting way to meet my soon to be sister in law. “Mr.kavan?” a voice asks. Oh, it’s the doctor.
“Yeah hey that’s me” Fraser responds. “Is she going to wake up soon?”
“That’s what I came here to talk about.” the doc responds.
“As you know she’s been on life support for about 2 weeks now. This is always the hardest part of my job. Delivering this message. But as her legal guardian you’re going to have to make a decision for me soon. “
“What? No I can’t do that.” he cries. “I know it’s impossible to even think about but let’s put it this way. She’ll be at peace very soon. Very few patients ever recover from life-support. If you let her go now, she won’t have to struggle through that. But I’ll leave you all to think about this.” his footsteps begin to tread away and the sound of the door closing felt like a volcano erupting.
“No. W-we can’t do that guys. She needs us right now.” Violet trembles. “What she needs is to not be in pain. She needs to be somewhere where she doesn’t have to go through all of this.”
“Renée, how could you say that?” Violet sobs. “Listen. You know how much I love her. She means so much to me and even though I don’t express that enough, I mean it. But what good is it going to be for her to be hooked up to all these needles.” Renée responds. The silence is too overwhelming.
“I mean look at her. I’ve never seen her so lifeless. We have to admit this now or we’ll be the ones hurting forever. She’s not here anymore” Renée continues.
But I am here. GUYS!!! Please don’t lose it. I really need you guys to stay with me right now. I never thought the four of us would be in this situation. It’s not fair that Fraser has to make this decision. My fate should not have to be in his hands. This pressure is supposed to be on me, not him.
"Renée’s right. We gotta let go. I can’t watch my sister like this anymore.” Fraser finally says. “I’m going to go talk to the doctor.”
“Aren’t you going to say goodbye first?” Vi asks. “I don’t think I can ever look at her and say goodbye.” he responds. His silent footsteps walk away and close the door. This is not the way I want to go. I don’t want them to think I left them before they could say anything else. The only sound in the air is the sound of sniffles and sobs. Renée finally walks up to me.
“I would sit here and remind you of every single memory we have together but I don’t need to. I know you’d never forget any moment that we’ve spent together. From every painting we’ve done together all the way to graduating highschool together. And from there every night you’ve stayed up to help me with assignments because I didn’t pay attention in class. I can’t put into words how much you mean to me and so I’m not saying goodbye. I know you have to go but I don’t have to say goodbye. Till next time Florence” she manages to spit out. She gives me one of her hugs that will last with me forever.
“I’ll let you talk to her alone Vi” Ren whispers, closing the door behind her. The room is silent. Violet has always sucked at giving speeches and saying anything heartfelt. Apparently it’s all “yucky”. But her presence is comforting enough. She lays down next to me with her arms wrapped around me. The only thing she manages to do is whisper one line over and over. “I love you, I love you, I love you…”.
After a while a couple footsteps walk in through the door. I already know it’s Ren, Fraser and the doctor. I don’t think anyone has the heart to say any further words because the sobs just keep getting louder. Fraser squeezes my hand, Ren lays on my other side holding my other hand and Violet still in that same position laying next to me just holding me tighter. No one says anything. But I can feel myself slipping away. I don’t want to go but I know they’re doing what’s best for me. So that they can continue on with their lives knowing that they didn’t let me suffer. And for that I love them more than they could ever imagine. The four of us are soulmates. So even if I’m not physically here, my soul will always be swimming in the air, watching over each of them.