Day 8 – The Final Day
They say just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that's not how it happens to me.
I only see my greatest hits. The things i want to remember, and be remembered for. The time in Cape Cod when Izzy and I snuck down to the bay at midnight and tried to catch crabs with leftover hamburger meat, and the moon was so fat and round it looked like something you could sit on. When Ally tried to make a soufflé and came marching into the kitchen with a roll of toilet paper on her head like a chef's hat, and Elody laughed so hard she peed a little bit and swore us to secrecy. Lindsey throwing her arms around us and saying, "Love you to death," and all us echoing, "And even then." Lying on the deck on hot August afternoons with the smell of grass shavings and flowers so heavy in the air, it's like your tasting them. The time it snowed on Christmas, and my dad split up one of the old TV tables in the basement to use as firewood, and my mom made apple cider, and we all tried to remember the words to 'Silent Night' but ended up singing all our favourite show-tunes.
And kissing Kent, because that's when I realised that time doesn't matter. That's when i realised that certain moments go on forever. Even after they're over they still go on, even after your dead and buried, those moments are lasting still, backward and forward, on for infinity. They are everything and everywhere all at once.
They are meaning.
And then there's the last moment, the moment where you die. The moment where you look up and you see all the people and things you love. The moment where you realise it is over and you're not scared. The moment of death is full of sound and warmth and light, so much light it fills me, absorbs me; a tunnel of light shooting away, arcing up and up and up, and if singing were a feeling it would be this. And then someone is singing, my name, 'Sam, Sam, Samantha."
Beep, beep, beep. No, this can't be right. I saved Juliet. I died. Why am I waking up again? It wasn't meant to work this way. I was meant to save Juliet and die, I did save Juliet, I did die, I think. Because that's when I realise the beeping is not my alarm, it's different. And I can hear the singing, "Sam, Sam, Samantha," and it's a beautiful voice. A voice I thought I'd never hear again.
I open my eyes and I'm not in my bedroom but a hospital room. The beeping is coming from a machine and the singing, "Kent!" My voice is croaky like I haven't talked in days and my whole body is aching.
"Hey Sam, your awake." He squeezes my hand.
"I had a wonderful dream." The dream where I was dying but I was happy. Then I remember last night and I sit up. The machine beeps faster.
"Juliet! Where is she? Is she alright?" I try to get up but then I can't get my body to move. I'm so sore. A doctor rushes into the room, moving pass Kent and gently pushing me back onto the pillow.
"You have to lie still or you will aggravate your injuries."
"Is she okay? Did I save Juliet?" I must have saved her, I wouldn't be here otherwise. I would have woken up in my room at the beginning of the same day as I have for the past seven days.
"Everyone is okay; you're the only one we've got to worry about." I sighed with relief. "Now stay still, I'm going to go get your family." He left the room and Kent moved back to the chair beside my bed and grabbed my hand.
"What happened, after...?"
"After you pushed Juliet out of the way?" I nodded, it hurt. "The car braked at the last second, you still got hit but not as badly as if the driver were going at full speed.
"But I died." That was the dream I had anyway.
"You died just before the ambulance got there but they brought you back to life. Then you've been in a coma for the past three days." My mouth fell open in shock. Three days, I was asleep for three whole days. "All your friends and family have been sitting here, they left for lunch about five minutes before you woke up but I stayed just in case." He squeezed my hand again and I smiled.
That's when the doctor came back with all my friends and family. They all crowded around the bed giving me kisses and patting whatever part of my body wasn't covered in bandages. Juliet was standing at the back behind Lindsey. I smiled at her and she smiled meekly back. Lindsey turned around and saw where I was looking; she grabbed Juliet's hand and pulled her forward into the circle around my bed not letting go of her hand.
I was alive, I had saved Juliet and everyone I loved was safe and with me.
Two months later.
"Beep, beep," Lindsey's calls from her car.
"Coming," I bounce down the stairs, kiss my parents goodbye, mess up Izzy's hair and head over to Lindsey's car. There are coffees in the front that she bought before she arrived.
"Bagels?" I say.
"In the back,"
"Obviously," I reach round the back and grab my bagel, taking a sip from my coffee.
"Nice PJ's," Lindsey says.
"You too," I wink at her and we both laugh. We're wearing the same pyjamas because it's Spirit Week, one of the two only times where we wear the same outfits. The other time is Cupid's Day, two months ago, when I died.
I take a sip from my coffee, careful not to spill it as Lindsey suddenly speeds through a yellow light and then stops in front of Elody's house. She hops in and grabs her coffee.
"Jeez, one day you're gonna crash this thing," Elody says as she takes a sip. I never told my friends about how I died because Lindsey did crash her car, which never happened because that day was erased and repeated. They wouldn't believe me if I did.
"Na, I could go head-to-head with an eighteen-wheeler and come out without a scratch,"
'Yeah but if you go head-on-head with a tree you'll come out with a dead body,' I thought to myself. I wasn't angry at Lindsey for her driving, I mean sure she could be better but hey, that's Lindsey for you. I only ever think about that stuff to remind myself what happened and to be grateful that I am alive.
Next stop we pick up Ally and then Juliet. Ever since the night where I saved her, and she saved me, she has been a part of our group. She and Lindsey are friends again and she gets along well with Elody and Ally. We pull into the school and head towards the Gym to Senior Alley.
"Come on, come on, let there be a free spot," Lindsey says.
"Yeah, we don't want to have to walk .22 miles," says Ally.
"Yes," Lindsey shouts as she pulls into the last parking spot. We get out and make our way to school. Mr Otto is standing there as usual watching everyone arrive.
"Get a move on ladies, it's two minutes until class and I don't want to have to give a late slip,"
"Or a spank," says Ally and we all giggle. Little do they know that Mr Otto only spanks one lady, Ms Winters. I smile to myself.
We get inside too late to talk before class so we say 'goodbye' and 'see you at lunch' and then go to our classes. Fifth period comes and I head to calculus. It's the only class I have with Kent and I can't wait to see him. He meets me at the front door and kisses me on the cheek.
"Hello." We sit down next to each other.
"Hey." We've been dating for two months ever since the kiss and I'm happy because I love him.
"Quiet," shouts Mr Daimler looking at me with a scowl. I shrug and open my book. I used to flirt with Mr Daimler in calc but after he kissed me, very sloppily, I don't really care about him. Of course he doesn't know he kissed me because that day was erased and repeated.
After calc we go to lunch and I order a double roast beef sandwich. We decide to ditch the next period and go into town, just me, Kent, Lindsey, Elody, Ally and Juliet. We sneak out, go behind the tennis courts and down to Smoker's Alley. I see Anna there and give her a wave, she waves back and smiles. I became friends with Anna in one of the days that were erased but then I gave her a book of M. C. Escher sketches, her favourite, on the last day and we kind of became friends again.
We make it to The Country's Best Yoghurt and go to make our order. "One jumbo double chocolate with crushed peanut butter cups and Cap'n Crunch cereal," I say.
"You should be careful, all that artificial yumminess is gonna go straight to your hips," Lindsey says. We all laugh and she pinches my hip looking for any fat.
"It's never too late," Juliet says. Those words are the reason we are alive. They are the words that I wrote on her rose on Cupid's Day and what I said to her before she jumped in front of the van. They are the words that convinced her to keep living. "If you start running now, you can work it all off by the time your thirty." We all laugh again. I don't think she realises the double meaning in those words but then I catch the sparkle in her eyes and she smiles.
"Only if you'll run with me," I smile back and we all sit down to eat our yoghurt.
I love my friends and my boyfriend and I am grateful to get to live my life with them. There will come a time where I will die, I will eventually fall. But before I fall, I will live, I will fly.