“I’m bored,” you complained that night. It wasn’t the very first time you’d said that. “I wanna do something outside. I’ve been in this room for too damn long!”
I sighed. I’d just returned from a long, hard day at work. I was really exhausted. I didn’t feel like having any argument that night.
“Alright,” I finally gave in. I sat on your bedside and stared at your pale, haggard face. “What do you wanna do tomorrow?”
“Just go outside,” you said and shrugged. Your deep eyes seemed hollower by the day, but that familiar boyish smile was still playful. “Sit in a hospital garden. With you.”
“Okay.” I nodded. I managed a small smile on my tired-looking face. “Anything else?”
“Just that,” you said. I let you reach for my hand and held it, just like when we were little kids and the darkness of the night at home had scared the hell both of us. “You’re staying over, right?”
“Please, Emma?” Actually, you didn’t have to beg. You never even had to. Ever since dr.Floyd had told our parents and me that you were going to need special help and attention, Ma had made me swear to be The Best Big Sister ever. Well, there were only the two of us, anyway.
“Okay.” I smiled when you beamed. I had to bend forward so you could give me a hug. My heart warmed a little…
— *** —
I’d watched you sleep for a while, before fatigue finally took over my consciousness. Still holding hands, we were sound asleep that night…
But not for long. You shook me awake, begging me to take you out right away. It was still dark. “Are you crazy?”
“I wanna watch the sunrise with you,” you persisted like a little kid. Too tired to argue, I relented and gave you what you wanted. I talked the doctor and nurses out to help you on your wheelchair. You were wrapped in a coat and there was a blanket to cover your already bony, weightless legs. Your muscles were giving into The Syndrome, little by little. It had been years. You were still twenty. You couldn’t even attend regular college classes anymore.
At last, there we were – at the hospital garden. We were sitting side by side, me on the bench. You were leaning your head back on the wheelchair’s headrest, closing your eyes and smiling. I nudged you gently.
“Hey, don’t go back to sleep!” I protested. “You said you wanted to watch the sunrise.”
“I do,” you assured me, still grinning. “But with my eyes closed.”
“Fine, just wake me up when it starts rising.”
“Deal.” So I waited. As the darkness slowly ebbed away, replaced by the glowing orange ray of the sun, I turned to you. Your eyes were still closed. I nudged you again.
“Hey,” I called you. You didn’t move. I nudged again. “Eddie?”
Then I noticed…and realised it with a choked throat. You lied to me. You weren’t watching the sunrise with your eyes closed.
You’d missed it.
(Jakarta, 3/9/2015 – from the Jakarta’s Couchsurfing Writers’ Club Gathering at Goedkoop, Bendungan Hilir. Topic: “sunrise”.)