Hope’s shoulders slumped as the gravity of the doctor’s statement sunk in. This morning the only thing she was worried about was getting to work on time. Now she had to worry about living to work another month.
What would she tell her parents? Her boyfriend? She couldn’t face any of them right now.
Once she arrived home, Hope made some tea and sit starring out the window. Snow was lightly drifting down, leaving a dusting on the sidewalk. Normally she’d be worried about shoveling snow off the next morning, but now all she saw was the beauty.
She marvels at the way your perspective changes when the end is near. Things you should have done haunt you. Mistakes you’ve made seem larger. Life seems more beautiful. And you miss it even before it’s gone.
Sighing, she gets up to call her parents. She’ll deal with her boyfriend when he comes over later.
She’s still with Tom, although things aren’t the same. The relationship is strained. He still holds her, but she feels the difference in his embrace, a subtle nuance of something missing. Who could blame him though? It must be hard to love someone who’s leaving you.
They’re in the mountains. It’s been three weeks since the diagnosis, and she needed to get away. Tom agreed to bring her to her parent’s cabin even though he didn’t like the idea. There was no phone, no electricity, and the only water was from a well. Cell phones worked, but only in certain places.
Hope wanted to go because it was so isolated. She couldn’t stand all the pitying looks and tears. She just wanted to die in peace. Tom didn’t know it yet, but she was sending him away tomorrow.
He put up more of a fight than she thought he would. She figured he would be glad to leave, but he surprised her. In the end she won though. After all, it was her life that was ending. She should be allowed to face that end in whatever way she saw fit.
She kissed him goodbye one last time and walked back into the house. After a last call to her parent’s she was going into the mountains.
She still felt fine. The doctor said that wasn’t unusual with her condition. That death came softly and without warning. She decided to spend the last days looking out over the canyon. Tom had helped set everything up before he left. All she had to do was close the cabin and head out.
The call to her parents was harder than she thought. She was really going to miss them. There were many things she’d do different if she had the chance.
After locking the cabin door, she headed to her destination.
The roar of an engine startled Hope out of a sound sleep. She’d forgotten to stoke the fire and it was down to embers. Not that it mattered. Dying was dying, whether from hypothermia or disease.
Tom came blasting up to the campsite on a snowmobile. Hope couldn’t believe her eyes. She’d told him to stay away. That she didn’t want him seeing her at the end. How could have go against her wishes this way?
And he looked happy to be doing it. A big smile graced his face.
Hope stood as Tom raced over to her. Grabbing her face in his hands, he kissed her. Startled, Hope sprung away.
“What are you doing here, Tom? I asked you to leave,” she whispered.
“You’re going with me, baby,” Tom replied.
“What are you talking about? You know I’m dying here. I don’t want to be hooked to machines in some hospital.”
“You’re not dying anywhere. Not right now at least. The doctor’s office has been trying to get you for days. The test results were messed up somehow. You’re fine, Hope! Healthy as a horse.” Tom cried jubilantly.
Hope smiled the most brilliant smile. Her eyes shone with light.
“It’s not every day you get a second chance on life and I plan to do things right this time,” she told Tom.
“Starting right this instant,” she added as she pulled him into her arms.