It’s January 26. Write a post in which the number 26 plays a role.
She sits on the edge of a dock; her feet dangle off and her pearl white toenails soak in the clear lake. The water reflects the mountains and the clear blue sky. The colors are bright and cheerful, but to her, it is all monochrome and dull. She places her palms on the dry wood beneath her and lifts herself off. Slowly, she descends into the water. The fish beneath her, all different shades of grey, frantically swim in the opposite direction of her steady steps. The water gets higher on her, as she travels farther into the water. The subtle ruffles of her white slip floats upward and her chocolate hair spreads out in the water. She hesitates a bit and turns her head around, behind her is a vast forest and the shore of the lake. Her berry dress is thrown on the railing of the dock, and her shoes are set neatly underneath it. The water stirs once more as she continues forward. The water rises past her breasts and she feels her breaths getting faster, with each inch the cold water touches.
She keeps stepping forward until she is gently swimming in the middle of the lake. She glances down and sees her feet swaying back and forth, the dark depths frighten her a bit, but not as much as the days ahead. The sounds around her stop as she floats on her back, relaxing and staring up at the sky. Birds soar high above the earth, but she can still make out their figures.
She closes her eyes and all that is left is the muffling sound of her breathing and darkness. She stops moving and lets her body sink underneath the water.
“I’m terribly sorry…” The doctor words were monotonous, no feeling at all, in fact he looked insanely uncomfortable. They were in the doctor’s office two weeks ago when he told her she only has 26 days left to live. Her mother was in the room, and the teenager, May, was eavesdropping outside the door.
“She’s only 17! Her birthday is in a month! Why… Why!?” She screamed and slammed her fists into her thighs. She cried for a long time and May waited for her mother, not shedding a tear. When she calmed down, she wiped her tears and she mumbled apologies to the doctor who gave half-hearted comfort words. The door opened and May was waiting.
“When did you-“
“I just got here, are you okay? Were you crying? Whats wrong?” May asked repeatedly, acting nonchalant about the whole situation she just over heard.
“I’m okay, I-I cried because you are just fine! The doctor said you are as healthy as a horse, and that’s great!” She smiled sadly.
“Lets celebrate!” May grabbed her mother’s hand and headed out the door. “I love you, Mom. I love you.” She smiled and her mother cried once again and embraced her.
“I love you too, baby. I love you too!”
May opens her eyes underneath the water. It was clear and deafening. She puts her hands over her ears and lets the sound of her blood rushing through her veins drown out the sound of serenity. The water is endless, and there is nothing to see, but she keeps looking. In the water, she lets out her breath and mouths ‘I’m sorry.’
Her breath is gone and so are her thoughts, she tries not to swim up for air, so instead she tries to sink into the dark water, descending farther into the unknown. She closes her eyes and attempts to think of nothing, but her chest starts to hurts insanely bad and she struggles more and more. She wants air, she wants to breathe, but she resists the urge.
There was a sudden change in the water, it moved and she starts to panic about what is in the depths of the lake she decided to end her life in, she was scared, but she kept her eyes shut for fear of what she might see. However, her eyes shot open and her muffled voice bubbled out and in came the lake water. She felt a hand gripping at her arm, but she couldn’t see anything. An arm wraps around her waist and she tries to fight it off, but the thing is too strong. Its pulling her upward, she thinks, but she lost track of the space around her long ago. The pressure releases from her ears as the person pulls her upward into the safety of the surface, however due to lack of oxygen, May blacks out before reaching the top.
She coughs and hacks up water. She felt hands on her back, tilting her over so she can be more at ease. The sun is warm against her skin and she relaxes after a few deep breaths.
“Are you okay?” The words slowly register in her mind, and the situation becomes clearer as her eyes focus. The sand is beneath her and is sticking to her wet skin. The dock is far in front of her and the tide of the lake is kissing the shores gently.
“Are you okay?” The sweet, and soothing voice is back, she turns around and sees a topless man in swim trunks. He repeats his words.
“Yes.” May spits out.
“Good, I thought you were going to die.” He sighs and laughs a bit. She keeps her mouth shut and watches him flop back in the sand. After a bit he speaks up again. “Where is my thank you?”
She snorts, “I don’t need to give you one, I was perfectly fine by myself, I was just swimming.”
“Really? It seemed like you were drowning.” He sits up and looks at May with intense eyes.
“You were drowning.” He says again. “That was your intention wasn’t it.” Each word he says, hits her hard and she realizes what she was attempting so she keeps quiet.
“Say something!” He shouts.
“What do you want me to say!? Huh!?” She yells, tears in her eyes. “I only have 12 days left, and I don’t want to spend it waiting!” She stands up abruptly. “I have a say in this too! I don’t want this either!” Kicking sand in the strangers face she runs off towards the dock.”
“What are you doing!?” He chases after her. He grabs her wrist and pulls her backward.
“Stop!” She shouts.
“No! What the hell are you talking about? Don’t just yell incomprehensible things to me! I don’t understand, explain it to me.”
May cries uncontrollably and sinks to her knees. “I’m going to die!” She relays the situation to him and he comforts her.
“Lets go.” He says, he grabs her hand and walks with her to the dock. She is still crying but he helps her put on her dress and her shoes and they leave the beach.
“What are we doing?” She asks.
“We are going to make the rest of your life, the best days ever. You are going to spend it with me. My name is Alex. What’s yours?”
“Well, May, you are now going to get to know me extremely well, because I don’t just hang out with any stranger.” He laughs like the her death was never mentioned and it makes her feel good, so good, she laughs loudly.
“I feel better already. You better make these days the best!” She yells with glee.
He laces his fingers with her and kisses her hand, “I will.”
Her heart skips a beat, the colors of the world become brighter and magnificent, and though her time is almost up, she feels completely alive.