They came in groups. She knew they were just outside her window waiting for her but it was not her time yet; she still had a little more time. She coughed; a heavy cough that made her insides feel like they were about to spill out from her mouth. She held the bed post to support herself and realised that she hadn't eaten anything. She didn't want to eat but she needed to; food tasted like lumps of rubber and sticks in her mouth but she had no choice. It would not take long now; she needed to abide this for just a little while more.
She shivered as she stepped out of the house. The sun shone down on her brightly but its rays only felt like icicles touching her skin. The roads were crowded, children ran in colourful clothes holding ice-cream cones, their parents sat on benches talking, hugging and watching their children with quite pride. Flowers bloomed in pots and on front lawns. It was a beautiful day.
She got herself an apple from the market and sat down on a bench under a shady tree. It was colder her but she did not want to sit in the sun; amongst the living. She took a small bite and realised that there were two little girls standing behind the tree. They were different, the sunlight did not touch their skin, their gazes distant, longing, as if they stepped out from a memory. These children were from the others; the others who were waiting for her.
What was it like to live in between two worlds? Was it this confusing? Was it always this painful? She had felt frightened before but now all she felt was pity and a burning curiosity about their lives; what it had been and what it was now. Sometimes at night when she couldn't sleep she heard them talking just right out of her window. She couldn't hear what they were saying, it was always in hushed whispers or muffled; like as if it came through a wall.
She turned away from the gazing children and looked at the ones who were running, laughing, bursting with life. Teenage couples walked the paths their hands entwined, their expressions happy and blissful in love. A man sat alone a few feet away from her, she drew her coat tightly against her and drew her cap down to cover her face. She didn't want him to see her. He probably wouldn't even recognise her like this; bald and pale with the face of a ghost.
She had lovely thick hair that curled in waves. She had olive skin that a lot had admired. A glance from her dark eyes left one mesmerised, but it had all been before. She no longer was that person; she did not look like the person she saw in her mind at all. The man had once looked her way before, she fell for him with just a glance but she never saw him again until now. Now it was too late. He would not glance her way again, he wouldn't fall for her the way she had fallen for him that day.
She slowly finished her apple and rose to walk back home. She turned around and saw them again. The others stood in groups; men, women and little children their distant gazes on her. Expecting her to go and join them. She smiled and shook her head slowly. She couldn't join them yet. Her time had not yet come.
She started coughing again as she fumbled in her coat pockets searching for the house keys. She had to sit down on the steps, her head on her hands. The coughing continued and it racked through her whole body. It was like a whip whose lashes which sent spasms through her paper thin form. She could hear the people in the distance but she doubted if anyone heard her coughing.
She lay on her dusty bed, after managing to crawl through the threshold of her home. Her breathing was louder than before, deep ragged breaths that made her chest heave each time. She stared at the ancient ceiling of her room trying to control her breathing so that it didn't hurt so much as it hurt now. Everyone has to be alone at some point their lives. It was either now or later on the loneliness would catch up with them sooner or later. Life gave one other people; family, friends, lovers, random strangers sitting on park benches and it also gives one one's self. Each person has a life, their own story to tell and everyone dies. Sooner or later it all passes and new life begins. She knew she had to go join the others to make way for someone new; someone with a new and completely different life and death, someone new for someone else to love. She turned her head to see them looking at her through the window. She could hear them now. Their voices were peaceful, welcoming and soft like little tinkles. They spoke in many languages and she understood what some of them said. She took one last ragged breath.
The room was silent except for the muffled sounds of laughing children in the distance.