Today I had decided to buy Volkner some flowers before seeing him. He always called the gesture cheesy, but I knew he loved the smell of flowers. I mean why else would he have surrounded his gym with such elaborate gardens? Technology wasn't his only past time!
I went to the local florist, conveniently only a block away from the hospital. The florist knew by now that if I stopped by, I would be buying the assorted daisy bouquet. There were blue and white daisies, those were Volk's favorite colors anyway! I always chatted with the florist, an old man but quite energetic. I explained to him our whole situation. He constantly asked me if everything was going okay, and I would always respond yes with an optimistic attitude. I had to stay optimistic.
The day was as sunny as it's ever been. The buildings reflected the light so the city was practically gleaming. Volkner loved days like this. These were the days we would take strolls in the park or have fun battles together. (I usually won but who cares!) With flowers in hand, I rushed down the various streets until I arrived at the hospital doors. I strolled in like usual, greeting all of the nursing staff that I had gotten quite acquainted with. They were always so kind. Volkner's nurse most of the time was a nice young lady named Mary. She greeted me at the sign-in desk just as I entered.
"Heyo Mary! Hey I gotta question for ya!" I spoke cheerfully.
"Why yes of course!" she replied.
"Could I wheel Volkner outside today? Or at least on the patio? He loves days like today." My tone became whiney but he needed this.
"I don't see why not. I think after all of these months we can trust you. Wheel him out back and let him see the ocean while you're at it!" She smiled.
"Awe yeah! Thanks Mary!" I high fived her, signed in, and walked down to Volkner's room. A204, I had this number memorized by now. It was the room on the second floor, down the right, and across from the Pepsi vending machine. Before entering his room like always I had to stop and take a deep breath. I was always the one never to be down or monotone, but seeing him like this day-in and day-out still took a toll to my heart. I gripped the flowers and slowly opened the door in case he was sleeping.
Upon entering the room, the sounds of various machines and his oxygen tank filled my ears. The noise was clustered but I was used to it by now.
"Hey Volk!" I greeted. I walked over to him and kissed his right cheek, making sure not to mess up his oxygen mask. He looked especially weak today. Although he was usually pale and skinny now, there were dark circles under his eyes.
He would usually greet me with a meek 'Hi' or a smile or a nod but he didn't do any today. He just continued staring at me with his sapphire eyes. He may have been staring me in the eyes, but he was also looking much deeper. His eyes still had light in them, like hope. But they were hinted with pain and sadness too. It broke my heart in all honesty, but I had to be the strong one here.
"So Mary said I could walk you outside today! I thought it would be nice! Volk the city is gleaming today and it's the perfect temperature! We can't go that far unfortunately but-" I was cut off by his shifting gaze to where my hands rested behind my back.
"Oh haha these?" I brought the flowers from behind me and held them out to Volkner. He gave me his signature "really?" glance and I laughed again.
"You say you don't like these but I know you love them. They'll freshen up this stuffy room some!"
Volkner took a deep breath and moved his head to the side, facing the vase that stood on his desk that had the flowers I gave him last week starting to die.
"Oh! I'll dump those out! They're dying anyway, we need a fresh start!"
I started to lift the vase and walk towards the sink until I heard a moan from behind me.
"F-Flint…" he croaked.
I cringed at the sound of his desperate voice but I smiled and turned around. "Yes?"
He lifted a bony hand and motioned me towards him. I set the vase down on the floor and ran to his bedside, trying to look eager to listen.
"You…know…" he croaked. "I'm dying too."
His words were like bullets to my heart. Tears were rushing to my eyes and I was trying to control myself at the truth of his words. Small, but plentiful tears began streaming down my face. And I felt a hole in my stomach. The room began spinning a little and I almost felt light headed.
"…are you going to n-need…a fresh start…too."
I was silently sobbing at his words at this point. I knew Volk too well, he wasn't angry. He was asking a legitimate question in all seriousness.
"No." was the only word I could articulate as I carefully reached across his body and hugged him (tenderly of course).
"I only love you. And you're not dying. You will get over this challenge! Like you always have!" I spoke. I couldn't see his reaction but I hoped my words had reached him.
I got myself together enough to speak again. "Forget the flowers for now! Let's take a stroll outside how about that."
And he actually smiled. This brought a second wave of small tears to my eyes.
I grabbed his wheelchair from the corner of the room and set it right next to his large hospital bed. It was like routine now. I lifted his frail body, carefully watching the many cords attached to him, and set it down soundly in the chair. He didn't have his IV in today so all I had to do was move the oxygen tank beside me.
"Everything comfortable? Alright?" I questioned him gently.
He lifted an arm and gave me a quick thumbs up. There was a small part on the chair for his oxygen tank so I set it there. After one final check I wheeled him slowly out of his room. Like always we walked down the hall and down the elevator. We finally reached the doors to the back and I pushed them open. There was no breeze, just the beautiful warmth of the sun. I wheeled him down a couple of paths until we reached one of the park benches that wasn't too far from the hospital, but had a clear view of the coast with the city.
And we sat there all afternoon in silence. Nothing needed to be said. We were in each other's company, no more than that. Love doesn't need dialogue all the time anyway! It didn't matter that he was ill and that I was slowly becoming emotionally unstable, for that afternoon we could just enjoy each other as well as enjoy the place we loved most.
That was our last afternoon together.