Mountains and Oceans

The rain continued to pelt down the damp, dirty streets.

Something about the rain, though, made my heart clench - made my heart throb painfully, like it never did before. Thump thump, it goes, thump thump, with an incessant agonizing sound reverberating inside it. Maybe it's that sound which makes it beat. I don't know, really. My thoughts are muddled, twisting this way and that inside my mind, with nowhere to go.

But strangely, strangely, they reflect those of which are inside my heart. Thump thump, it says.

"I'm sorry." She says. And that word echoes off through the non-existent walls. "I can't do this anymore." Sniffle.

The faint scent of tears makes its way to me. Or maybe the sound of those tears. Maybe the sight of those tears. Again, I don't know, but what I'm sure of is that it's faint, like it always is.

"Please, say something." She pleads. What's there to say? I want to ask, but my mouth can't form those words, my vocal chords can't even produce a sound at this point. I continue to stare, vaguely, at her eyes- eyes that were so warm back then – but it's as if I'm not staring at them anymore – it's as if I'm staring at this omnipresent feeling that's barely even there.

Something warm touches my hand, and I blearily realize that it's her hands, her small little hands, which grasp mine tightly like my hand is the only thing that connects her to life. She holds it tightly, before bringing it up to her chest, right where her heart beat can be felt. "I love you so much." She says, before a thought makes its way straight to my heart.

God, I feel so lost.

She holds on to my hand tighter, firmer. "I can't stay."

I know, god, I know. "You need to let me go now." She says, and I find the irony in it all, of how she's the one holding my hand in her own.

My heart went thump thump again before I did what she told me, and I felt everything collapse.

It was like I did not bequeath the gift of being able to breathe, and I was suffocating. I try and try and try, but I can't hold on to anything for leverage. It felt like I was pushed so suddenly from the highest peaks of the mountains, falling down, down and down – down to where nobody can see.

I felt as if I was at the bottom of it all, deeper than even the deepest of oceans.

Two days earlier:

"My flight's due two days from now." She says. And her words felt strangely distant, as if she were far away from me now.

"I know." I say. "I want to go with you." I continue.

"You can't." She says, before she proceeds to hug me, sitting down next to me. We were at the porch, and the sun was glaring down upon us.

"I'll go with you, I'll go with you." I repetitively say, as if it were some strange mantra. As if just by saying those words I'd be able to go and run.

"You won't. I won't let you. I'll fight you with everything I have." She cries, and the sight of her tears makes me lash out.

"Damn you! Damn you and your selfless heart! Can't you understand that I'm willing to sacrifice everything? Everything! Just let me go with you!" I scream at her, pushing her away, standing up, pacing back and forth, pulling at my hair.

"I don't want that! You think I would want you to throw away your life? To let you miss out on your chance- this single chance in college you've worked so hard for? To throw it all away, just to let you come with me and witness how I slowly die from the medication there in the hospital a thousand miles away from here?" Her cries become louder."I don't want that! You think it's easy for me to stand here before you, knowing I'm about to leave this life, and see you like this?"

I cry then. I cry and cry and cry, weeping like a child, with her in my arms, with her and for her.

Something in me breaks at the sight of her eyes, and in the back of my head, I know that I can never repair it. It's slowly eating at me, just like how leukemia was slowly eating away at her life, and everything we thought we would have.

One Month Earlier

We were walking down the yellow brick road across from her house. The moon could be seen through the hazy clouds that moved as slowly as ever.

She was unusually pale tonight, I realize, and I stop walking.

I stare at her.

"What's wrong?" I ask.

"I'm sick." She says.

"Well then, we better hurry to you house. I'll cook you some chicken soup." She was slowly shaking her head at me.

"What I meant was, I'm really sick. I have leukemia."

The words swam through my head, trying hard to pass through the insistent barriers that kept my mind from understanding them.

"That's not possible."

She tears up at my denial. "I'm sorry. We thought it was gone, but it came back."

This time, it was me shaking my head.

"That's not possible." I repeat.

She places her palm on my face, her palm which was unbelievably cold. "I need to go to medication in another country, to prolong my life at its best, which is roughly about a few months, if all goes well."

"No, no, no." I continue to say.

"I'm sorry." She whispers.

That's the last word I hear from her before I began to cry.

Three months earlier:

The houses passed us by as I drove towards our destination.

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" I ask.

"Positive." She beams up at me, her smile making my heart flutter. "I've been with you for so long. I'd gladly give it to you."

I smile at her. "Then I'm honored to be your first."

Before long, we reached the peculiar heart shaped meadow where we first met. It was a full moon tonight, and the moonlight gently bounced off of the plants in the meadow, lending a gentle, silvery shade that almost seemed magical. Clasping each other's hand, we ran through the flowers, and entered the small room at the far end of the meadow.

Inside, there was a bed that was recently cleaned. I led her to it.

"Your father did a good job of hiring a maid to regularly clean this up." She laughs, and it tinkers through the small room.

"I know." I said cheekily, hovering above her. Our lips meet then, with a soft passion that slowly grew in the heat of the moment. Slowly, as if in need of breaking the soft wisp of uncertainty before us, we undress, and I swear I've never seen anything as beautiful as the sight of her before.

I held her hand throughout the night.

Six Months Earlier:

It was a hot day, and we were frolicking under the bright sky.

"Your ice cream is melting!" She laughed in delight.

"Yours is too!" I told her childishly. She smiled, before pecking me on the cheek. "Not really." She says, before swallowing it all up.

Before promptly turning red, apparently suffering from brain freeze. I grasp her elbows in concern. "Hey, are you alright?"

She smiled to reassure me, and when it passed, she said, "See? It didn't melt!"

Eight Months Earlier:

"You look so mysterious and alluring, and, gosh, I sound so cliché!"

"You're very beautiful tonight." I told her.

We were at a masquerade ball, courtesy of one of our friends. It was her birthday.

"You're handsome yourself." She quietly told me as I led her to the dance floor.

"You know how to dance?" She asked. Her blue eyes sparkled in the reflection of the light from the ceiling. I subconsciously noted how bright and warm they were. "Maybe." I replied.

The music changed then from an upbeat tune to something softer, tender. I held her in my arms then, our bodies slowly swinging to the gentle rhythm of the song.

"I need to be back by 12. It's like Cinderella." She whispers.

"Then, my princess, we better enjoy this night to the best that we can, and later, when you accidentally leave your shoe, I'll find you and return it."

The next morning, I was at her house, smiling, returning her left shoe.

"Cinderella," I called.

One Year Earlier:

My heart was beating so, so fast. It goes thump thump, thump thump.

I almost felt certain she could feel it as my arms enclosed around her slender form. I tried to form the words I so desperately want to say, before chickening out. This feeling, it wrapped around me so tightly, as if trying to suffocate me with the sheer force of it. I know I need to say it, to tell her exactly how I feel. It's so overwhelming, to the point that I can barely even describe it. Pulling myself way from her, I took a deep breath.

"I love you." I say. And she stares at me like I've never seen her stare before.

Seconds go by without any sound coming from her, besides a soft gasp immediately after I said it. This time, my heart beat louder, making its own fast rhythm. Thump thump, it goes, thump thump.

And then, slowly, slowly, she says, "I love you too." And I see her smile the brightest smile I've ever seen on anyone's face.

And then I knew, without a doubt, that with this love, everything would be alright.

And honestly, I felt like I was on top of the world.