Author: Clear Plastic PM
When a sixty-year-old Susan realizes she is about to die, she makes a list of things to do before she leaves this world. She learns a few lessons about love along the way, and finally confronts her past. *COMPLETE*Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Susan Pevensie - Chapters: 19 - Words: 38,474 - Reviews: 344 - Favs: 127 - Follows: 32 - Updated: 04-12-09 - Published: 07-26-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4424174
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: A new one. Might be multichaptered if you guys... REVIEW! :)
'All endings are also beginnings. We just didn't know it at the time.'
Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet In Heaven
This story begins with an old woman, about sixty years old, who is standing by the sidewalk in the frigid January air.
She is wearing an old, worn coat, and ragged gloves. The gloved hands tightly grips a shiny plastic shopping bag full of groceries to last the entire month. Whenever she exhales, mist billows out from her wasted lips, once plump and red. Her eyes blink, and they are a brilliant blue, dazzling even in her aged state. Her hair, once lustrous and the most beautiful color of ebony, is now lifeless and had strands of white mixing with black. Her eyes dart left and right.
You may ask: who is this old woman? And what exactly is she so important?
An old woman standing by the sidewalk may not seem like a very important thing, but this old woman is special.
She is special, for she was once a queen.
She is special, for she is dying.
Her breaths are numbered.
Her heart beats are coming to a close.
And she knows it.
She is Susan Pevensie.
The old woman crosses the road, concentrating on putting each exhausted foot in front of the other, and she makes a silent vow to herself to never step outside again. Her small apartment is much more comfortable.
Susan approaches a small building, where her apartment is. It is a run down brick building, with peeling paint and some shattered windows. The roof is missing many tiles, and the building is about five stories high. This old woman lives on the third level, in room 3B. She is the only one living on that level, and she is relieved.
She walks up the cement stairs leading to the apartment, and her joints protest weakly. The plastic bag weighs her down. Her heart burns.
The lobby of the building is in a dismal condition, with the fan nearly ripped off the ceiling, and the plaster on the ceiling falling down in flakes. There is nothing but a small table and a worn moth carpet on the hard, wooden floor. Stairs are to her right. There is no one there.
This is the part Susan dreads the most: the stairs. Three flights of stairs for her is like running ten miles for us. She remembers a time when she was young and healthy, but that time is long gone. Its been so long since she last ran, or even jumped.
She struggles, and eventually reaches the third floor. Her apartment door is slightly ajar. The old woman had no fear of robbery. She has nothing even remotely useful to steal. All her jewelry were pawned long ago in a desperate bid for more money.
Susan Pevensie has no job.
She pushes open the door with her shoulder, further jiggling the tarnished 3B sign on the door, which was already loosened.
She enters the apartment, and she inhales the musty scent of it, the smell of decay and mothballs. She sets the plastic bag down on the floor, deciding to remove its contents later on. Now, she rests.
She goes to her room. It's a dingy room, with a small bed and a nightstand beside it. There are no pictures, no carpets, no curtains.
Susan opens the topmost drawer of the nightstand and pulls out a pack of cigarettes. She removes one and places it between her trembling lips. She takes out a lighter from her coat pocket and lights it. It ignites, and the woman immediately relaxes.
She moves to her living room, and switches on a old television set she inherited a long time ago. It is black and white, and Susan stares unseeingly at the moving figures, her eyes unfocused. She inhales, and the smoke enters her lungs.
She coughs violently, as she always does. She lifts up her hand to cup her mouth, still hacking.
When she looks at her hand, it is speckled with red.
This isn't the first time.
You may think it is strange that Susan, this old woman, didn't go to the hospital immediately to get some sort of treatment. The truth was, she didn't want to.
She was tired of suffering.
She was tired of being alone.
She wanted out.
And this was like a free ticket to the exit.
So, the cigarette stays firmly between her lips. The smoke stings her eyes, and she closes them. There she lay, slumped in an armchair, ready to give up.
What else did she have in this world, anyway?
No friends, no family, no one.
But for some reason, the old her resists.
Susan opens her eyes again, and the smoke had blurred her vision. She remembers back then, when she was a strong young woman. Never in her life would she have imagined that she would go like this.
She remembered that when she was young, she had always imagined that she would die a noble death, maybe dying for someone else, or when she was saving someone. And yet, here she was, pushing herself further down the road to the Shadow lands.
She picks herself up from the lumpy armchair, and walks towards the kitchen, just a few steps away. She unloads the grocery bag. A bottle of brandy, some butter, two apples, a pack of raw mutton, a stick of butter, and even a toilet brush.
While she is placing the groceries in her tiny refrigerator, she thinks again.
She has had so many regrets in her life.
So many things she wishes desperately that she could turn back the clock, and start all over. To write over anything wrong she had said, she had done, she had thought.
With a resigned resolution, she decides that if she going she might as well go the right way. And for the first time in decades, she feels a spark of life. A ghost of her former self.
She hobbles over back to her room and scrabbles around in the nightstand for any paper or pen. She finds a raggedy piece of yellow paper and a small pencil.
Susan places the pencil on the paper shakily. And she begins to write.
Her words are hesitant at first, and very messy. It's been a long time since she last wrote anything, or even held a pen.
Her words come faster and faster.
Then, on top of the list, she writes: List of Things To Say or Do Before I Die.
Susan Is Five
Susan rushed down the stairs on the morning of her birthday. She giggled excitedly, thinking of the presents she might receive. Maybe a puzzle? Or even a board game she can play with Peter? She hurried down the stairs, and saw nothing.
She surveyed her surroundings, disbelieving. Yes, the house isn't even decorated. No balloons, no ribbons, no party hats. Her eyes stung, and she ran back up the stairs, burrowed under her bed sheets and pretended to be asleep.
Two hours later, her mother was helping her button up her school uniform. She stayed silent, holding back her tears. Her mother asked her what was wrong, and she simply shook her head.
Peter greeted her in his own school uniform, and they both walked hand in hand to preschool, with their mother behind. Peter didn't mention her birthday at all, and now Susan doubted that he remembered.
For the whole day she was moody and gloomy. Even when her best friend, Katie offered her a gummy worm, she refused. Instead, she simply slumped over her small desk and moped.
After her mother fetched her and Peter back from school, she said that she was going out for a few moments and would be right back.
Peter and Susan were the only ones in the house.
Peter closed himself in his room and said that he was doing something, and that she had better keep out.
Susan wandered around the house, crying, her nose running. What did she do? Was she too naughty? Did she break something? Were her parents mad at her? So, Susan simply lay down on a couch and slept.
Susan's eyes snapped open. All her family members were there, from Grandpa Jenkins to little Lucy, her gummy smile. All of them wore a smile on their faces. Her eyes widened in delight when she saw the huge chocolate cake her father was carrying, and the multitude of presents waiting for her.
Later that night, when her stomach is full of cake and she is surrounded by her new birthday gifts, Susan cannot help but think that she is the luckiest girl on earth.
Author's Note: Review to tell me if I should continue!! :)