She takes small steps, her legs leading her to the beach, a fragile figure, barely visible against a raging storm. Dark clouds covering the sky, cold drops falling on pale cheeks. Her breaths are uneven and shallow as she stumbles forward, bare feet sinking in the sand. She’s dressed in a black, heavy coat. Sharp gusts of wind opening it with every blow, a thin hospital gown the only thing she has underneath. She holds it tightly, her fingers almost white against the dark woolen material. It wasn’t even hers. They hid all of her clothes because she didn’t need them. Hospital clothes and her covers were all she had. After all, she wasn’t going anywhere. It was too late for that.
Slowly moving forward, a few more unsure steps, just to get closer to the ocean. Just a bit closer. She wants to perceive it, inhale it with her entire being. Just the smell of the salty waters, tiny particles of iodine from the seaweed promising to make her feel better; and not just the constant odor of sickness and medicine. It was just too late. She knew that for a long time now, even if her family tried to convince her otherwise. “There is always hope Anne, they are going to find a donor for you. I know they will. You just have to be patient, child” The same empty words not really giving her any hope to hold on to. These days were numbered, she just wasn’t sure how many she still got left. Two, four days? A week, or a month? Maybe more, maybe less? She didn’t know. Twenty-two years wasn’t such a bad score.
Gazing at the water, she makes an attempt to move. One step, two, three, four... That’s the moment when her legs buckle under her, deciding that this will be all that she gets. Anne’s weakened body falls to the ground and lays on the wet sand. Her breathing more shallow than before. She wants to spit out her lungs so there will be no more pain. She wants to open her chest and rip out the heart, that hasn’t been working for the past year. She scratches her throat as if she were looking for hidden air. For a moment her face lands in the sand too, she can hardly breathe in this position, but it brings her a strange almost masochistic pleasure to feel like that; as if she still had some faint control over her life, as if she could end this. Here and now... She growls into the ground and makes herself lift a bit. She spits the sand out of her mouth and coughs for what seems like forever. Her body lifts even more and she sits up on her knees.
The breathing slows down and the last coughs stop. Tears running down her face. She inhales and finally feels the breeze on her face and the ocean in tired lungs. Eyes focused on the waves crashing with force and the storm coming closer. Maybe it will take her with it. Breathe in, breathe out - light lips lifting slightly. She has made it hear, reaching her goal; a little dream that she could still make happen on her own. This sickness has taken so much. Eyes closed, she lets the simple sounds of the ocean fill her up, but other words break through too. Atrial fibrillation. Type: Permanent. She tries to block the too known words but they keep hitting her. Heart abnormality from birth, treated too late. She clenches her eyelids tighter. Right-side heart failure. Recurring and badly treated health issues. “Your immune system is that of an infant, we will use medication to improve...” She finally blocks it and just listens to the tides rise anbd fall.
With eyes open again, she pulls the coat tighter around a slim figure. I couldn’t find any shoes, the slippers fell off in the sand. She gazes at the water as the same thought bounces in her mind. This isn’t my coat. She can hardly feel her fingers as her eyelids begin to get heavy. I’m so tired all the time, I just need to sleep. Her head feels dizzy, and her breaths become shorter with every passing minute. Maybe today is the day. She makes herself look at the world, still feeling the wind in her hair and the fading rain on her cheeks. Her hand goes to her chest once more, barely hearing her mistaken heartbeats. There is a pull somewhere inside her and she groans, her vision blurry. She collapses into the sand. And as she drifts into unconsciousness she can sense cold hands wrapping around her and picking her up.
“There you are, once again running away”.
A man in his mid-thirties holds her tighter and starts to walk back to the building. This wasn’t the first time that she has disappeared, but she never managed to get that far. She had a strong spirit but this couldn’t be stable for her health. At least there was some good news, the situation has changed.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXwPUYU8rTI Birdy "shelter"