Stories

Rhymeless Tales of a Wingless Bird

 

''I don't want to live like this anymore. I want my life to end.' Rebecca whispered to the doctor.

'Ah' Rebecca, Don't we all?' The Doctor Answered.

'I didn't' before this' Rebecca answered, shocked by the doctor's response.

'You sure?' The Doctor asks with clear signs of doubt on his face.

Rebecca sighs and puts a bitter smile on her face: 'In my life' well, I made many many bad decisions in my life'Simon, Not knowing myself, abandoning my family, twice' Bad decisions and I were like peanut butter and jelly. I was always an underachiever; I never had a purpose. I just did things because I had to do them. What is a human being without things to do?

I remember playing a game back in my childhood. I don't remember the name, but it ended with the main character saying: no matter what, you keep finding something to fight for. My life wasn't any short of a war either. I was always dependent on someone else, and I didn't want to be. But' I couldn't. And when I finally became independent, I couldn't handle myself. So, I started making bad decisions. Some good people were thrown in my way by God I guess, but I kicked them all away. Sometimes people started loving me, but then they got to know me better, and they found out that they just loved the person I loved to be. Not the true me. I was nothing but another worthless piece of shit. Like many others.

So, yeah, I wanted to die before too. But even that was to put on a show, to make people notice I exist. Putting myself in other people's shoes, why should I care for a person like me. Well now that I'm dying it wouldn't matter if I tell you. I wasn't a lesbian. You can say I was bi, but I always enjoyed men. I just said I'm a lesbian to find an excuse to break up with Simon. I thought that it was the easiest way.

I worked doc' I worked hard. I tried music, drawing, digital art, writing, interior home design, and many other things that I don't even remember' but none of them paid off. This' I just wanted to be noticed.'

Rebecca continues:

'Poor Vanessa really was a lesbian, but me' No' I just wanted to get away from Simon' And I pushed Vanessa away from myself too.'

Rebecca keeps talking but her voice fades in the doctor's ears. All he thinks about now is that is he another Rebecca or all the lives he saved was worth something?

Did he ever save anyone or he just took his 32 work shifts a month and earned the money he wanted to?

He glances at the steel knife on the table as Rebecca is telling all her secrets to the last person she might ever see in her life. Someone who doesn't care about her. All the doctor thinks about is the reflection of the full moon on the steel knife and wishing that he was a werewolf. However, Rebecca won't stop telling him everything about her life. She always was an introvert but you start talking in your death bed even if you are a mute! What would she do with those secrets? Take them with herself to an afterlife she doesn't even believe exists? Or does she?

Well let me tell you another thing; In death bed, even atheists, even nihilists, want to convince themselves that they are wrong, that this is not the end.

So did Rebecca. In the past month at Saint-Denis Hospital, Rebecca found faith, found God, and found all the holy in the world, because she found out that she had AIDS.

The doctor doesn't know that this exact moment will cause him to get cancer, but he knows that this world isn't worth holding himself from smoking a cigarette that his co-worker left on his desk. He can imagine himself lying on the bed, telling the whole story of his life to another doctor. He knows that one day, he will be another Rebecca. He has seen many Rebeccas as a doctor. He breaks his '1 year clean from smoking' record and clicks his zippo open. He had his zippo on his shelf for a year as a sign of being a smoker and quitting. He didn't know that his symbol of quitting will make him start all over again. Just like he doesn't know yet that the knife that he saved many lives with, will be the knife that he will cut his wrists with and take his own life. The bright orange light of the zippo fades the reflection of the moon on the knife. The only reflection on the knife now, is the tip of the doctor's cigarette' burning, the tobacco, and his lungs. But he is not looking at it. He is staring at the smoke he blows out of his mouth which gets sucked out of the room by the room's advanced room control system. Technology has come a very long way over the last 40 years. He knows it and he hates it. He remembers the game Rebecca was talking about very well. It was called 'The Last of Us'. It was 2013, and his older brother used to play it every day. It's been 40 years from the moment that The Last of Us ended with 'No matter what, you keep finding something to fight for.'

He forgot this sentence but Rebecca made him remember again. He felt good remembering the ending of one of the best games of his life' and one of the best years of his life. However, The Doctor said nothing to Rebecca because he is an introvert as well. This was Rebecca's moment and he didn't want to ruin it by talking about his memories with The Last of Us. He thought that his moment will come one day too. He will talk about 'The last of Us' when HE is the one lying on the bed.

But he doesn't know that he will die alone with no one but himself by his side. He will die alone as his eyes fade out on the full moon reflecting over his blood on the floor, wishing he was a werewolf one last time.

That is another 14 years from now. Now all he wishes is that it was 2013 again and he could watch his older brother play The Last of Us, or just watch his older brother at all once again. He misses his brother so much. His brother always wanted to see him in the doctors' white cloth. He is wearing one every day, which makes his heart break into a million pieces every time. The fact that he is now a doctor, but his brother isn't there to see him in the clothes is killing him. Literally killing him. He started smoking after his brother died in a car accident seventeen years ago.

He doesn't know that he was not his real brother and was adopted by his family before he was born. He will never know that. But maybe he would have missed him less if he knew, maybe not. At the time being, his family thought not knowing this would make him love his brother more. What they didn't know back then, was that love doesn't always bring happiness.

He knows that it will never be 2013 again so he changes his wish and wishes that his cigarette doesn't end too soon. The cigarette that would be the cause of his cancer and the cancer that would be the cause of his suicide. He never knows what he wishes for. He never will.

Just deep inside, he still believes that his wishes might come true. He will die believing.

'So yes' I have thought about dying before, but I never REALLY wanted it. I REALLY want it now.' Rebecca ends her audience-less speech with this sentence.

The doctor says to himself: 'No you don't. But you soon will.'

He says to Rebecca: 'I think you deserve to know something.'

Rebecca: 'Don't worry, I won't tell anyone.'

She laughs but her laughter turns to coughs.

Doctor: 'Your partner, Vanessa, ' She passed away last week. She also had AIDS. In fact, she had AIDS before you. She didn't know that when she was with you of course, but you got AIDS from her. Oh, and some days ago, your ex-husband called. He wanted to know how you are holding up. I asked him to come over. His HIV test came out negative.'

Rebecca is stunned by the news she just received. She closes her eyes and tries to remember the last good memory she had with Simon. She always saw Simon as an evil man who tried to control her life, but now he sees him differently.

She remembers the last time they went to a mountain top. It was foggy or maybe it wasn't' She doesn't remember. She doesn't even remember Simon's face back then. Did he have his beard back then or did he grew it the year after that?

But she vividly remembers him holding her hand and helping her up. Back then she saw Simon's hand as a forceful hand of a careless man controlling her life, but now she sees it as the hand of a man who was trying to help her climb up the cliff she couldn't climb herself. She also remembers the song he sang while they were climbing:

'So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain,

Wave goodbye to cares of the day,

And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain

Sail far away from Lullaby Bay.'

Everything has now changed in her eyes in just a single minute. The evil man she made out of Simon crushes and burns, and from its ashes rises a man who tolerated her and, in the end, let go of her, because he wanted her to be happy, yet he never stopped caring for her.

All the things she imagined of him, she sees now that were just her picture of Simon and not the real Simon.

'Simon was not an evil man. He always cared for me.'

But this also is a picture of Simon in Rebecca's head.' She never will know who Simon really was.

Rebecca instantly pulls the blame off her own shoulders. She has a new person to accuse. Vanessa! She was the person who tricked her into being a lesbian. She made her hate his husband. She made her leave his husband. And most importantly, she gave her AIDS.

Vanessa is evil!

She will never know Vanessa either. She will never know the real person behind that lesbian evil. She will never see the struggling girl, abandoned by her friends and family, who finally thought had found peace with Rebecca. But after feeling that Rebecca is not really into her and is just pretending, tried to find another person to fall in love with, but in the end, found nothing but AIDS and a broken heart. Unlike Rebecca, Vanessa was only seeking someone who could love her for the person she was. Rebecca will never know that.

All Rebecca can say to the doctor is: 'Thanks for letting me know. I can't see Simon anymore. I can't look into his eyes. But' But tell him''

Rebecca doesn't know what the doctor should tell Simon on her behalf. Yet she wants Simon to know that she thinks he is a good man. Even now, she seeks Simon's attention. Knowing that Simon is a good guy, won't come free for Simon. Simon must pay her back with his attention. The attention she will never know of.

'Tell him I'm sorry' Rebecca responds after a long pause.

'I will Rebecca, I will. Now take your pills and get some rest.' The Doctor answers after a nod.

'Why do you waste your pills on a dying woman?' Rebecca tells the doctor in despair.

The doctor smiles and replies: 'Because you paid for it.'

Rebecca feels the pills moving slowly down her throat. A sip of water she drinks helps the pills to move faster. Now she can feel the coldness of water pouring down her hips from the inside.

'Rebecca, wake up.'

Rebecca slowly opens her eyes. The place she sees looks nothing like the room she slept in last night. The room is bright, the walls are orange and white, the color she always wanted her room to be, and there are orchids near her window. There were no windows in her room at the hospital.

'What is all this?... Where am I?' Rebecca asks the mysterious voice.

'You are in heaven, my child.'

Rebecca's ears scream right before all the voices in her head stop for a brief moment.

She is happy that all this is over, but somehow, she feels hollow that she is not on earth anymore. That she is not alive.

That's how people are. She would have even missed hell if she was in hell for that long. When people belong, it's hard for them to pull free.

Rebecca looks at her hands. She sees two beautiful young hands. Her hands weren't like this the last time she saw them. She believes this is heaven.

She wants to say 'Do I deserve heaven?'

but she is afraid that there might be a mistake and they send her to hell.

She says: 'Am I here forever?'

'This is your eternity. You will get what you want. You will have what you want. This place is all you want.'

Rebecca examines the whole place. As she watches it get bigger and bigger. The calming combination of orange and white, sweet breeze of the spring wind, and Vanessa impaled and screaming as she burns make her feel very good.

After she is done enjoying hate and vengeance, she starts thinking of all the things she wants to do in heaven.

She wants to sing, so there's a stage right in front of her.

People gather around and watch her sing. They love her charming voice and cheer for her nonstop. Her voice feels like butter melting on a perfect piece of toast. She can feel the melted butter pouring down her ears. She can't believe this is her voice. She is amazed. But most importantly, she is getting the attention she was always missing back on earth. And she is getting it for doing what she loves doing.

She thinks that she will never grow tired of this.

She is wrong.

Rebecca has been here for a very long while and she is tired. She has done everything she could have thought. Everything that she thought would make her happy. Now she is out of ideas.

She was a movie star for a while. She was a musician, a pop star, a writer, she was even a video game designer. She made all the games she wanted to make back when she was a kid. But now she is tired. Eternity is boring. She wants to leave. She doesn't want to have everything by just wanting it. She wants to try and succeed. She thinks heaven is some kind of a charity. If she wants one thing now, it is for this heaven to be over. She can go into an endless void now. She doesn't care.

Rebecca has gone mad.

'CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?' Rebecca yells.

'STOP' I DON'T WANT THIS ANYMORE.

I WANT THIS TO END.' She continues yelling.

Simon: 'What did you do? Why is she crying? WHY IS SHE SCREAMING?'

'They all get tired at some point. That's part of the procedure.' The doctor replies as he closes the door, muting Rebecca's screams.

'It took her longer than we expected. Most of them do not last this long. She had so much to do.' Doctor continues.

'What did you do to her, you little fuck?' Simon asks the Doctor as his hands are shaking in anger.

Simon grabs the doctor by the collar.

He tightens the doctor's stethoscope around his neck. Doctor grunts.

'I will kill you right here man. What the fuck did you do to her?'

The doctor struggles to answer but Simon pulling the stethoscope around his neck won't let his voice leave his throat.

Doctor taps on his throat.

Simon lets go off the doctor.

For a minute, the doctor's eyes go black. He can only see blinking dots in the darkness he is trapped inside. He sits on the floor, inhales deeply, and then exhales. He can see again.

Simon has very beautiful shoes. That is the first thing the doctor sees after his blackout. He always wanted a pair of shoes like this. His wife bought him a pair six years ago, but he could never wear it. The hospital didn't allow them. He sold the shoes online to a guy he didn't know. He does not know that Simon's co-worker bought the shoes from him for Simon's birthday. He is looking at his own shoes. He envies Simon.

Simon breathes for a while. He thinks he is calm now. So, he asks again, with a lower tone: 'What did you do to her?'

The Doctor answers: 'I made her happy. Isn't that what you wanted? Isn't that what you paid us to do?'

Simon is a short-tempered guy. He yells again: 'DOES SHE LOOK''

He notices his own anger immediately and takes a deep breath. He then repeats his sentence calmly: 'Does she look happy to you?'

'She will be when you talk to her.'

'What should I tell her?... What did you do to her man?' Simon is confused.

'I sent her to heaven. Well, most of them call it heaven. I sent her somewhere she wanted to be. That's how the pills work. That's what you paid us to give her. They manipulate the mind into imagining everything the way they want them to be. It also manipulates the concept of time for them. She has been there for over four hundred years. It has been 12 days for us, of course. Everything for her is the way her brain wants everything to be. So, it doesn't matter what you tell her. She will hear what she wants to hear. We take away the pain from our patients in a way no one else can. They experience the heaven they always wanted for as long as they want, they live their final days happily'

And finally, they grow tired of it. They grow tired of having it all. That's when they REALLY want to die. And that's' when we pull the plug on them, and their one final wish come true.'

The doctor was talking as he was staring at Simon's shoes. A drop of water falls on Simon's shoe. He looks up and sees Simon crying.

He continues: 'You wanted her to be happy in her final days. She was happier than any of us can ever be. That's what she wants now. She is happy that it will all end. We made her death a happy one. Isn't that what you wanted? For her to be happy? She is happy now. All she wants now is a happy death.'

Door clicks open.

Simon enters the room.

Rebecca stares at Simon. She is stunned: 'Simon? Is that you? Are you dead too?'

The doctor is amazed. Before this, no one on the 'Heaven drugs' ever saw anyone as they really were. They always see someone else. Someone their brains want to see. A celebrity most of the times. Never, never the person they literally see.

Simon was what Rebecca's brain wanted to see. And there he was.

But it was too late. She had wasted her life, and her eternity without him. Someone who truly loved her.

Simon answers: 'No darling; I'm not dead. You are not dead, either.'

'That's too sad to hear. How did you die?'

Rebecca answers. She wants to hear that Simon is in heaven too. And that's what she hears.

Rebecca continues: 'Heaven is not good Simon. You should not stay here. You should take me with yourself out of here. Heaven is boring. I don't have any purpose. I am more worthless than I was back on earth. I don't want it anymore.'

Simon starts crying again. He takes one last look at the love of his life:

'Why do I always have to do the hard part, Rebecca?'

'Oh Simon, I did many things' I was a Pop Star''

Simon moves to the plug and puts his hand on it. He waits for Rebecca to finish telling him about her heaven. He listens carefully with a beautiful bitter smile on his lips covered with tears.

He pulls the plug.

Rebecca closes her eyes for the last time.

Simon holds Rebecca in her arms.

His teardrops fall on the knife that will one day take the doctor's life.

The love he had, have, and will always have for Rebecca flashes in his mind.

'Why did it have to end like this?' That's all Simon can think of.

Simon does not know that his story is yet too far from being over.

He will end up sleeping right where he is now holding what remains of his love in his arms. Just like Rebecca, he too will take the pills, although he knows it is nothing but his imagination. The pills will make him forget that fact. Just like Rebecca, he too will end up being nothing but flesh, and the remaining of all his memories. He won't be as lucky as Rebecca. He will die with a nurse pulling the plug on him. His brain will picture the nurse as Rebecca. But no one will hold his body in her arms after he dies.

He won't be as lucky as Rebecca.

Simon will live long enough to laugh at what he used to call 'purpose'.

 

 

~~~ (The End) ~~~

 

VONBiRD
VAHID RANANDEH