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“Sweetie, where are you? Are you on your way home?” I speak softly into the phone.
“I’m at the tracks honey! And you’ll never guess, but I’ve won almost three hundred dollars! Isn’t that great?” Eddie says excitedly.
“What? You’re at the tracks?” I don’t hide my annoyance from him. “That’s how you’re planning to spend your birthday? Wasting a bunch of money on horses?”
“Marguerite, calm down. I’m coming home in about an hour. Then it can be just you and me for the rest of the night. How does that sound?” Eddie is annoyed also. I can tell that he’s disappointed in me for not being excited that he won so much money.
“Fine. Be home soon.” I slam the receiver back in its holder. How could he do this on his birthday? I have this dinner all planned and he decides to go to the tracks to gamble.
I go around the house picking up in an angry faze. By the time I finish cleaning and take the roast out of the oven I realize how sorry I am. What type of wife yells at her husband on his birthday? I feel horrible, so I grab my keys and head for the tracks.
As I’m getting ready to go under the bridge, I turn on the radio. Everything happened so fast after that. A bottle hit my windshield, smashing the glass into my face. I swerve of the road and hit a patch of ice. My car flips over and hits the safety rail with a great force. My last thought is how I hope Eddie know how much I love him. Then everything goes black.
My eyes flutter open and I find myself in a little field with the most beautiful and vibrant colors I’ve ever seen, ever imagined. The grass is so soft as I intertwine my fingers with the blades. There are beautiful little white and purple flowers dotting the sea of green. They’re smell is so sweet it makes me feel so wonderful. I look up to the sky that is so blue it looks fake, like something from a painting.
I sit up and find that I’m not alone. There’s a little girl standing a few feet away from me. She looks to be about twelve. She has shoulder-length hair that’s curly and is so blonde it’s almost white. You can tell that the little girl is still a little bit young by how her face still hasn’t shed all of her baby chubbiness. Her blue eyes are almost the same shade as the sky, just a tad lighter.
“Hiya!” She calls to me, walking closer. She has on a little white school dress that flares out at the skirt and stops just after her knees.
“Um, hello. Who are you? And where am I?” I ask.
“Oh, my name is Lucy. And your in the Between. Now, come with me. I have a lot to tell you.” Lucy takes my hand and pulls me up.
“Why am I here?”
“To make a decision. That’s why I’m here too. I need to help you.” Lucy takes my hand and we start to walk towards a stream I didn’t notice before.
“What decision? Am I dead?” Looking into the stream I see the reflection of Lucy and I in the rainbow water. Her gentle, little girl face and my older, not yet at aging point face.
“Kind of, but that’s part of your decision. You have to choose weather or not to go back to your one true love or move on.”
“You mean I have the choice of going back to Eddie? That seems simple enough.” I shrug.
“Yes, but there are…complications I guess you could call them.”
“And that includes…?”
“Well, if you choose to go back to Eddie, then you’ll be sick for the rest of the time that you’re with him. And that time all depends on what kind of sickness you have.” Lucy licks the lollipop that just appeared in her hand.
“Where did that come from?”
“If you choose to move on from Eddie, then I can teach you how to make things appear whenever you want them. Just like this lollipop.” She takes a bite out of the giant lollipop. “And the second time you die, which you will you can’t overcome the sickness that you are faced with, you can’t go back. It seems so unfair.” Lucy bows her head.
“That’s okay. At least I still get to spend a little more time with Eddie.” I smile down at Lucy, getting a smile in return.
“Is that your choice?”
“Okay. Then I’ll see you when you come back.” She lets go of my hands to stand in front of me.
Before I can say anything back to her, a brilliant light suddenly surrounds me. My body fills with wonderful warmth that makes me feel so happy. But, just as quickly as it happens, the light has disappeared and the happy warmth has been replaced by pain. I open my eyes and find myself looking into Eddie’s.
“Oh Eddie, I’m so sorry.” I’m surprised to see tears form in his eyes.
“Shh. I know, now you have to get your rest.” He gently pats my hand.
“I love you.” I whisper before shutting my eyes again, overcome by how tired I am.
“I love you too, and I always will.”
“Good morning Eddie and Marguerite. How are you feeling?” Dr. Wentworth asks me, four days after I woke up from my coma.
“My head still hurts. Have the tests come back yet?” I ask, anxious to see if this will be the “sickness” that Lucy was talking about.
“Yes, they have.” Dr. Wentworth’s voice drops the happy tone that is always in his voice and I just know.
“So, this is bad news, isn’t it Doc?” Eddie asks, squeezing my hand gently.
“I’m afraid so. It seems as though you have a tumor growing in the front of your brain.” I take a sharp intake of breath and feel the tears pour down my checks. I look over to see that Eddie has the same reaction. “When you crashed your car, you smashed your head off of the steering wheel. Blood started to clot instantly, forming this deadly tumor.”
“What kind of treatments is there?” Eddie asks, not know that it’s no use. I’m going to die anyway.
“Well, this situation is still new to the medical practice and there isn’t much treatment. And since we’re such a small hospital, we don’t have the technology for the advanced treatment that you’ll need.” The doctor shakes his head sadly.
“There must be something! You can’t just let her die!” Eddie jumps up from his chair and starts pacing.
“Eddie, it’s okay sweetie. Calm down. There’s nothing the doctor can do.” I get up and pull him into a hug as he sobs silently into my hair.
“Even if we did have the technology, I’m afraid that your insurance wouldn’t cover it.” Dr. Wentworth says.
Eddie breaks from my embrace. He runs his hand through his thinning hair and takes a few deep breaths. I know what he’s preparing himself to ask, glad that he will and not I because I would break down if I did.
“How long do we have?” Eddie’s voice shakes in a way I have never heard.
“A year at the most."