Tears of happiness.
The moment when he went down on his knees holding a perfectly cut diamond ring in his hand, and asking me to marry him with the full moon and star filled sky as our witness. The leaves were swaying to the gentle cool, crisp air giving us the much needed music.
Tears of sadness.
Today at this moment I lift the same finger that still houses the perfectly cut diamond ring to dry my tears with the old Dr. Ess as my witness. The music courtesy of the occasional siren of ambulances, and footsteps of people running in the hallway.
Now that I think of tears, I find it funny that the tiny droplets of salty water can reflect the emotional state of a being. It drips and drips; drops after drops, and yet it doesn’t wash away the cause of its origin. I cried then and I cried now. Tears formed and dropped, but no harm was done to my happiness then or my sadness now.
“Do you think what my Sam did classify as a cowardly act Dr. Ess?” I had seen this name tailored on the top edge of his left pocket in his white coat when he offered me his shoulders to cry on.
“I think it takes a lot of courage to end your own life, miss Lily.” – There is no hint of judgment in his voice; he sounds as if he is stating the absolute truth like the sun rises from the east.
Silence hangs in the air while I take baby steps to the window. I realize that the night is slowly waking up from its sleep.
“Don’t you want to read his letter to you?” – Dr. Ess clears the silence from the air.
“I don’t have the courage to read it.” I answer gazing out of the window. The city is preparing to sleep.
“You don’t want to know what his last words were to you!” – This was not a question; his voice was a mixture of disappointment and astonishment.
“What good will it do now, Dr. Ess? I lived all those years with him believing every word he said. What if something he told me was not true and he left this letter behind to bring forward the truth? I only have happiness and good memories with him and that is how I want to remember him.”
“Don’t you think it will be easier to live if you know the why? Don’t you think…”
“Do you think I will be able to love someone again?” – I interrupt Dr. Ess before he gets to complete his attempt to trick me into opening that envelope.
“In time, you will. But your incomplete love story will always leave you thinking how perfect it was. The greatest love stories are greatest for simply one reason: tragedy.”
I repeat his last sentence in my mind. The greatest love stories are greatest for simply one reason: tragedy.
“No one remembers happy endings to the same extent they remember tragedies.”
“I was a very troubled and rebellious teenager, Dr. Ess. In my early twenties, I was always worried that I would die without having experienced how it feels to be truly loved by someone and to truly love someone. But I don’t have that fear anymore. There is nothing that I have not experienced in this life except…” I paused at the sight of a hearse outside the hospital road.
A hearse. A coffin. A dead body. Broken hearts. And few more tears of sadness.
“Except death, Dr. Ess.” I let out a heavy sigh with my reply.
“You can never experience death. No one ever will. Are you feeling okay?” It was obvious that my sigh got him worried.
“Yes. The hearse outside reminded me of our funeral arrangements. Do you have yours planned, Dr. Ess?” – I ask without turning to him for I follow the hearse through the street as long as my eyes get hold of it.
“Not yet. Tell me about yours.”
“On the day of our third anniversary, we made all the arrangements with the Paradise funeral agency. We chose a coffin which would accommodate both of us. We wanted to keep our sleeping position from our morning ritual – the spoon position. I would be put curled up in a fetus position and he would be put on his side with his left arm tightly holding me.” I try to demonstrate the position for him in the air.
“But that would require you two dying on the same time?”
“It does. We hoped to grow old together and to follow to our grave together.”
Dr. Ess keeps searching for words to say. In a situation like this what would be the most the most appropriate thing to say? I’m sorry that you didn’t die together?
“I think I’ll rest for a while Dr. Ess. I will like to be alone with his letter.”
“So you will read it?”
“Yes, I am going to.”
“I will let you be in peace for now, but I will come by after something like…” – he looks at his watch and continues – “…30 minutes with the papers that need to be signed.”
“It is fine for me.” – I forcefully pull out a smile from the thin air.Dr. Ess closes the door behind him.
I open the envelope. In there is a nicely folded paper all colored rusty red. But there is something else in there in a small plastic bag: a white sugar-like crystalline substance. I remembered the only day he took me to his work. He held a plastic bag full of the same thing and explained with passion – “this beautiful thing here is called potassium cyanide, my love. The next best thing in my life after you.”
I take out the plastic bag from the envelope with gentle care and put it on the table. I take out the letter, put it in my mouth and begin to chew it. Then I write a note for Dr. Ess with a kind request to call the Paradise funeral agency for taking care of our dead bodies. I thank him for all his support and beg him to make sure that our plan gets fulfilled.
Our plan: He and I sleeping forever to eternity.
I end the letter with a smiley face, and reach for the colorless crystalline substance in the plastic bag.
I lived to tell Sam’s story. Nobody will be there to tell mine.