by William King
They didn't know I could hear them, much less that I was lying back serenely watching events play out to their final conclusion. I think perhaps at the beginning they maybe thought I knew they were there, perhaps my mother and John were more convinced than my sister and dad. They had all been here, on and off, at my bedside. I didn't know that then. I was too busy travelling, pursuing a journey that was probably only in my head.
It's true I mixed things up, I could see that now. John and I set out on this trip together, we were still together, only I was about to leave, and he would be left behind. There was a great sadness in me about that. I loved him, but soon I would never see him again. I think he'd be okay though. Why did I mix him up with Dr Gonzalez? Jabez, Fernandez, Gonzalez.
John was beautiful, Jabez was also beautiful. Today he was here with his family. I suppose it was normally his day off, so today he had his father, uncle and little brother here, his little brother he called Chin, that name made me smile.
Absalom Alquezar, Dr Alquezar, was here of course. He had to be, he was the consultant neurologist. He was talking to my mother and father. I didn't need to listen to what he was saying, I knew everything, I knew what was happening and I accepted it. I had thoughts about how short life could be, about leaving people behind, about how one little event can come out of the blue to change things forever.
I was lucid, but they didn't know it. I had travelled and now I had arrived, at my final destination. I had been here all along. Lying here in this bed, surrounded by machines, white walls and white sheets. A window with a view across the desert plains and the mountains hazy in the distance.
I never saw through that window until today, but I had the feeling that I'd travelled across that desert and up into those distant mountains. I'd even seen the sea. Time is relative you see, all just relative.
I would never come out of the coma Dr Alquezar was certain of it, I was how he explained things, in his gentle bedside manner, brain dead. There was no detectable neurological activity, which was odd considering how alive I felt, although I have to admit that often things had been confusing and nothing was clear. Today everything was clear, but I couldn't tell them that.
John was holding my hand, he was sitting right next to the top of my bed. My mother brushed my hair back off my forehead, she had tears in her eyes. My sister too, who was holding my mother, looking over her shoulder.
The sun was as white as the moon, and glowed outside the window. Shooting an intense white beam over the mountains and across the desert. Demitri was standing there waving, beckoning me to follow him, and I had to go, it was my destiny. I could see everybody there around me, I could even see myself, more importantly I could feel all their emotions.
Demitri turned and headed towards the distant mountains. He looked back over his shoulder to make sure I was following. I left them all behind and ran towards him into the sunshine and the light. I left behind me distant memories, I was gone.
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