This may not be a very happy story, but I'm sorry it had to end this way. Here I am, lying in a hospital bed…pale and completely weak. I can barely open my eyes to see my parents' cry or my friends telling me goodbye. I can only listen of my surroundings. I hear soft crying, and consecutive being from all the machines that are hooked up to me. My mother is telling me who is here to bid me farewell. "Xiao You is here, Ah Si is here, Mei Zuo and Xi Men, they are all here." Everyone except one: "Where is Lei?" I ask myself. "Where is he?" I must've said that out loud, and immediately Ah Si's voice was heard. He said he wasn't coming. I almost expected that. I expected him to not show up.
Pacing back and forth in my room, I debate whether or not to see her… did I have the right to? My cell phone has been ringing non-stop from Xiao You, Ah Si and Xi Men. They are most likely trying to tell me to come.
Finally, after hours of debating myself, I grabbed my keys and phone, and left my house. I soon arrived at the hospital and there was Shan Cai's parents sitting in the waiting area, both looking tired. Before I could say anything, her father spoke, without lifting his head, "she's in there, room 103." I turned my head in the direction, and prepared myself for what I was about to see.
I still prayed hard in my mind for Lei to show up. Even if he came in at my last breath, at least I knew he came. The sound of the door was heard, and I assumed it was just my parents coming in or going out. I waited for whoever it was, to say something, but again, I heard nothing. My hospital bed had more weight added to it, and this was not my mom, or Xiao You sitting next to me, this was someone else… who?
I felt my hand in someone's grip. I instantly recognized it after they started stroking my hand. He's here; he's really truly here! I tried as hard as I could to open my eyes and try to say something. I managed to whisper out something, "you're here…"
"I'm here…" he said, "I had to, and I'm sorry."
"Sorry for not coming to see you the whole time you were here. Sorry for yelling at you the day you told me of your sickness. I'm just sorry."
"It's alright," I whispered again, "Lei?"
"Yes, what is it?" he asked me, his grip on my hand tightened slightly.
"Will you tell me a story? Just one more before my time is up?" I almost begged. I wanted these last few moments with him my way.
She wanted a story, "you know I'm not good at telling stories, you know that," I told her. Her hand squeezed mine slightly as she begged.
"Please? Just one?"
I thought for a while, and nodded my head, "alright, just one."
"Tell me a story about us?"
"Sure," I said. I was trying to think of a good story for her, but nothing seemed to come to mind, "what should it really be about?"
"Tell me a story… about us… happy… together, apart, I don't mind, as long as you're tell it."
"Alright, I'll try." I took her hand again, held it gently in mine, "once, there was a man, a lonely man. He went to work everyday, went home everyday, and saw his friends ever now and again. But something in his life was always missing. Every night when he lied alone in his king size bed, he'd look over to the empty side of his bed, and knew exactly what it was: a wife."
"Why… why wasn't he married?" she asked.
"There just wasn't one that came his way. Until one afternoon."
"One afternoon, the man was sitting in the park reading the local newspaper. Then, a woman sat next to him, a book in her hands. The man looked up from his paper and saw the woman, reading her book diligently. 'Hi', the man spoke first. 'Hi', the woman answered. 'That looks like an interesting book,' the man comments, 'It is, I just can't put it down,' the woman replies. After their casual conversation, the man asks the woman if she would join him for coffee. She accepted his offer and they walked to the nearest café. They continued seeing each other after that day, and eventually the man gathered enough courage to ask the love of his to marry him. She happily agrees and they had a small wedding in November that same here." I decided to pause for a second and reached my hand for her left hand.
"Hmm, then what?" she asked me again.
"Then they lived happily ever after," I said.
"There's no ending?"
"I just told you the ending."
"Hmm," she said smiling weakly, "not the right ending."
"Well, then you finish it."
"Ok, I'll finish telling the story," she shifted herself so she was lying slightly on her side, careful to not disturb all the wires that connected to her. She stroked my hand, and started speaking. "The man and woman were happy together, married and living well. Until one sad day, the woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The doctor gave her an approximate two years until the illness at her whole. The man was terrified, and didn't know what to do. When the woman was eighteen months into her final stage, the man filed for a divorce. The woman was heartbroken, but signed the papers anyways, knowing that it would only take a miracle to heal her and save her marriage," she paused and looked at me, "Why did you file for a divorce on us, Lei?"
Thinking back to that day, I didn't really remember the reason I did that, "I don't know, and I shouldn't have… it was a mistake."
She then continued on with her story, "the poor woman waited day after day for her death, knowing that there was no chance of her survival. All her friends and family came to see her and give her their final goodbyes. The woman still held on to one last thing. She held on to her hope of seeing the love of her life before she dies. She hoped, and hoped, day after day that he would come, even if it were during her final last breath of air, at least she could die knowing he was there, and that he still cared enough for her to be willing to visit her in the hospital. The woman would sometimes dream of the man coming to see her and telling her that he's sorry and would ask her to marry him once more. How she dreamed of that moment…" I then realized as I listened to her story, that she was talking about now… talking about her time in the hospital and how she waited for me… she waited for me for months…
"Oh, Shan Cai, I had no idea…" I said, full of guilt.
"I hoped for you Lei… I prayed to God for you to come… I kept praying and asking Him to please send you to me…" two tears slipped from her eyes as she closed them. I reached my hand up to her face and wiped her tears away.
"I'm so sorry… if only I'd come sooner…"
"It wouldn't have mattered… either way, my fate has been chosen."
Time began to pass after out heartbreaking conservation. Shan Cai fell asleep and I held onto her hand as she slept. While she was sleeping, I studied her figure. She was so thin… she lost so much weight… but she was still beautiful… Then something caught my eye; a box, a shoebox. What's a shoebox doing on her nightstand? I brought it to me and read the cover, 'My Hopes'. I lifted the cover and found various pictures and pieces of paper with delicate writing. I picked up a picture, and there it revealed Shan Cai and I in Taipei, smiling and holding hands. I placed the picture back and looked at more pictures of Shan Cai and I. I then picked up, what I thought was another picture, but a piece of paper. It was the divorce papers. She kept it… she kept it, as a memory something else was with it, something heavy. I unfolded the paper, and what fell, was the wedding right I gave her. I picked it up and looked at it. It was still the same… a simple, but elegant cut. It suited her well. "What are you looking at?" I heard her say.
"Your wedding ring…" I confessed.
"I haven't worn it in months…" I then took her left hand and slid the right back onto her finger. "What are you doing?" she asked.
"Shan Cai, will you marry me, again?" I looked into her eyes as I said this.
"Yes, I will…" her breath again became dangerously short. I held onto her hand tighter, trying to keep the moment we had, "I love you, Lei…" and then she was gone.