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Memoir: Ere the Last Week

Rose Euzebe

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I jumped on his bed with a joy I thought would never end.

Of course, it did.

Yellow skin and eyes, dizziness, tiredness, difficulty breathing. Each time I hold his hands they are as cold as the ice. The pallor of his face, he had the beating of his heart sometimes I have the impression to hear even two centimeters from him

He looked at me with a smile.  He was tired and needed some rest. I had messed up the bed. Sheets were hanging off the corners of the mattress making snakes on the carpeted floor.

I was a child and laughed with all my strength.

“Narianka, when are you going to stop jumping on my bed?” Ashley asked.

“Never. I’ll jump on your bed until the day you die.” And I kept jumping. His exhausted body bounced beneath me.

His eyes changed suddenly. I knew him well enough to see something was wrong. It was at that moment he told me the doctor gave him the results.

“I have little time to live, about three weeks.”

“Repeat that.” I had stopped jumping.

So what do you do when your childhood best friend is about to die?  I proposed that some days, we should spend time doing interesting things: church, cinema, beach, restaurants, bars…

From time to time, I sat on his back to make him feel his bones.

On Saturday, I called him. We were supposed to go to the beach, but he said he did not feel well enough. He coughed with almost every word spoken. Breathing was a marathon for him.

His voice was not warm.

“I’m a little cold,” he said. He went to sleep in the bedroom with the sheets still snaking on the floor.

That’s where I found him.

I stepped onto the bare mattress holding his skin and bones, and I held his swollen hand.

I raised my free fist in the air, and I jumped and jumped on the mattress.  It took about three hours.

He was still, yet the final jump was his. He left the mattress.  He left the body, and together, we hovered in the air, floating above the bed, floating above the sheets twisting on the floor.

I smiled at him, and he gave me a final smile before he dropped my hand. The yellow faded from his eyes, and he floated to the ceiling, through the roof, above Haiti, into the heavens.

I dropped back down to the bed, back down to earth, back down to life.

And I slept, alone, without my friend. Forever.

When I woke, his mother reached to me.  A letter was in her hand.

“It’s for you. Ley gave it to me for you, and today is the day.”

Ashley’s handwriting twisted across the envelope.

A day after my death.

I didn’t read my letter there, in front of his mother.  I read it in the streets and I walked, lost in my thoughts, and a car almost crushed me. I was somewhere in the atmosphere on earth.

“I adored you, I adore you and I will adore you.” That’s all.

I cried chunks of dauntless tears every night and every day until they stopped. They stopped when I jumped, remembering his words, and my soul, too, lifted to the sky. My heart was a balloon, carrying me above everything.

 

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Memoir: Ere the Last Week