• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 10

The Last Sunset

“Now, now,” I said. “Don’t move that much, or else you’ll fall out.”
He chuckled.
“I’m sorry, darling,” he replied. “It’s just that I’m seeing the outside world after such a long time, I don’t know what else to do!”
He turned and looked up at me, his blue eyes shining in the dim twilight as I pushed his wheelchair, with my brown locks bouncing on the back of my knees with each step. I turned back to see the doctor standing near the entrance of the hospital rooftop garden, the scrawny nurse at her side, anxiety leaving no space for other facial expressions on their faces. I remembered the doctor’s words from an hour ago.
“Please,” she said. “Have your last meetings. We cannot guarantee that he will still be breathing tomorrow.”
My mother and sisters had broken down that very instant, my brother dropped the vase of flowers he was holding, eyes welling up with tears. I remained rooted to my position, still and unmoving, my heart shattered like the vase, my eyes as dry as a desert.
“M-may I-'' I stuttered. “May I take him outside? Father h-hates being cooped up.”
“Please, feel free to.”
So here I was right now, just father and I, walking towards our favorite place.
I helped him up from the wheelchair and sat him down on the large, iron swing. He rested his back heavily against the swing with a grunt, and I took my seat beside him; my long ponytail swept onto my shoulder, away from Father’s face where it might have bothered him. I took Father’s hand into mine; still large and warm like before, except it was more wrinkled. He let his frail head drop to my shoulder, a long, loud sigh escaping him.


The Last Sunset

“Just like the old times,” he said. “I can’t believe you’re the same person, you were so tiny back then! I’d hold an infant you in my arms, Rayleigh sitting next to me, swinging her little legs. Just then, Ahmad and Kiera would be back from school, waking your mother up from her peaceful nap. Such feisty children you were!”
He looked at me.
“I’ll be back home soon, okay?” he whispered. “Then you all won’t have to worry so much about me. You and your sisters can prepare a romantic little afternoon in the veranda for me and your mother.”
“So that you can tease her?” I said before we both broke down into a hearty laugh.
We sat in silence and watched as the crimson sun set over the horizon, a cool, summer breeze blowing my hair out into the sky. Soon, the only vibrations travelling up my body were the ones from the creaking but strong swing, no longer from the slow breaths of Father.
“It’s okay,” I whispered to him, resting my cheek on his head even though I knew he could no longer hear nor feel me. “I know you’re not coming back.”