Doctor Cooper suggested to Flora’s parents that they go outside to the little park across the street and have a chat while Flora freshens up. They could all do with a little fresh air she said with certainty.
Flora’s parents followed Doctor Cooper out of the Center and into the fresh air and open spaces that the Doctor felt would do them all a world of good.
Flora’s Mother looked up into the sky- it should have been a beautiful sky, a beautiful day above them and all around them but today the world seemed dark and muddled.
Instead of feeling like the soft white cloudy sky, tinged with just a little pink as it was at this time of day, went on forever it felt like it was crashing down on them.
” There is no good way to put this. We know this, don’t we?”
Flora’s father nodded. ” It’s killing her. Isn’t it?”
Doctor Cooper wouldn’t have been that blunt. ” It’s metastasized . I am sorry.”
The sky seemed to drop down a little more and it felt unseasonably warm. Funny. It was like this a few years ago, the last time that the Universe and Flora’s own body turned on her.
” I suppose we could pray.” Flora’s Mother suggested. ” I mean, it can’t hurt. Can it?”
Flora’s Father scowled. ” Yeah. Well. Go ahead and through a few Hail Satans in there too while you’re covering all the bases. That won’t hurt anything either”
Doctor Cooper wanted Flora’s parents to focus.” Listen. Your daughter is a fighter. This has beaten her down hard, but she’s been through this before. We thought she wasn’t going to make it the last time. But she did.”
Flora’s Father saw his daughter drifting towards them- God, it looked like she was disappearing right before his eyes. His poor baby who should have had nothing but time to waste and enjoy looked so tired. Nobody that young should look the way his daughter did.
But she was sick and there was nothing he could do to help her.
That winter, Flora waited for her last breath, she waited for the darkness to work its way into her and she wondered if she would feel like she was drowning from the inside out- like the last time.
Only instead of drowning from the inside out, Flora woke up a little more each day.
It didn’t happen all at once.
One day she woke up and felt a little hungry. A few days later she woke up with her alarm and she made her way to her family downstairs and they actually had breakfast and even lunch later that day.
Then on her own she went to the creek down the trail from their house and she waded around in the stream and she looked up and the sky looked a little brighter.
Nobody knew why Flora recovered- her Father would say it had something to do with the prayers Flora’s mother offered to any God who was listening and Flora’s Grandmother thought it was the Creek that finally brought Flora back- all of their guesses were just as valid as the last one that was offered, but it didn’t matter because Flora lived and she grew as strong as the Creek she visited every single day.
Flora grew up and she had children and Grandchildren and even Great Grandchildren.
She went to her Creek everyday and waded in just up to her knees and FLora let the cool water and the little creatures that lived in it swim and nibble at her toes and she always, always kept her face up towards the sky.
Truth be told, the beautiful sky and the lights shining from it were the only things she would have missed had her illnesses taken her away. She would never admit that to her family but it was true.
When Flora was very old and when it was her time to go- she looked up and she saw the sky. Of course her eyes had been weak for a few years but she could still see a bit of the light from it and she since she had been doing since she was young she always kept her face up towards it.
In those last few minutes Flora was with her family she looked up and the sky was blazing with light, beautiful light swimming with colors.
She reached towards it with one hand, then she raised both of her arms up and then she flew.
The sky broke apart where Flora sailed through it. In a single breath she turned into a stream of color, wrapped in the coolest of breeze and she flew, and she swam and she heard the wind roaring all around her-
but the wind was made up of words that Flora could never have understood and what it said was-
” I think he saw me in the end.” His name was Phil and his daughter gently closed his eye lids with her hand. ” I saw it in his eyes, he could see. Don’t you think so? ” Phil’s daughter asked her family.
Gathered around his bed were Phil’s family who never once left his side when his brain cancer came back and robbed him of his vision early in his disease and took him away a month later.
Phil’s sister put her arms around her niece and hugged her.
Phil’s son had been standing on the other side of his Father’s bed and he had looked down at the same time into his Father’s face when his sister did.
It didn’t seem to Phil’s son like their Father was taking anything into his wide open and focused eyes as he looked over his son’s shoulder and out the window
It looked more to him like something was breaking out.