Michaella-Aramoana-2-yr13 © 2014 NNCmagazine. All rights reserved.

Short Story

Written by Morgan Chan

Jay and I ran behind the nurses that were pushing Zoë’s stretcher down the hallway and into a little room. I couldn’t see Zoë’s face, but I saw her thin, bony hand dangling from the side of the bed. The nurses started hooking her up to machines to try and get her heart rate up.

“You’ll need to wait outside the room,” Gloria, our nurse told us.

“But I need to be with her,” I pleaded. The nurse just shook her head.

“You know how this works Luke.”

Gloria left the curtain to the room open a little bit so I could see that Zoë was still alive. “It’s going to be alright,” Jay said quietly.

I shook my head. “She’s not going to make it this time,” I said shakily; tears welling up in my eyes. “I want her to be okay. I want her to be so badly; I just don’t think she wants it to be okay.”

Jay led me over to the seats that were lined up against a wall. They were dull and miserable looking just like this place was. I saw the nurses monitoring Zoë’s vitals from the machines. Her eyes were closed and her arms lay by her side. I looked at how pale she was; almost translucent like a ghost. The nurses had changed her into a gown and I saw how thin her legs were, how stick like her arms were and how prominent all her bones had become. I wanted her to get better. Everyone did; but she kept doing this to herself. Kept purging after meals and making herself sick. Eventually she just stopped eating altogether. Zoë wasn’t going to make a comeback after being in this god awful place for the third time in two months. In sixty days, she had been in here twice. She always showed signs of progress when she was released; eating small snacks each day, but that never lasted for long. Zoë’s eyes were open now and she looked over at us through the curtain. Her green eyes were glazed over. That was something I still hadn’t gotten used to; they used to be so electric. “I’m sorry,” she mouthed. Her lips were thin and her face was gaunt but she was smiling at me. “It’s okay,” I mouthed back as closed her eyes again. I don’t know how long we were in that hallway for, but the nurses finally spilled out of Zoë’s room and Gloria came up to us.

“Luke. Jay,” she said solemnly. I gulped and nodded; I knew it was time to say goodbye.

“Can I go first?” I asked Jay.

“Yeah, of course.” I nodded again and stepped through the door into Zoë’s room. There was a chair next to her bed and I sat down quietly as she opened her eyes.

“Hey,” she whispered.

“Hey Zo,” I whispered back. I saw the thin, silver chain that I gave her laying across her collarbones which were the most noticeable they had ever been. I too, was wearing my silver chain; our little token that meant we’d always be best friends.

“It’s my time to go, Luke,” she whispered.

“I-I know,” I choked out, blinking back tears. “I wish you weren’t.” It took some effort, but she reached her hand out and took mine in hers.

“Thank you for being there for me. I’m going to miss you so much. But I’ll be there watching over you.”

I squeezed her fragile hand even though it probably hurt her.

“I’m going to miss you too.” I was trying not to choke on my tears but she nodded and smiled at me one last time before she closed her eyes.

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