The summer sun beamed, breaking through the small windows and illuminating the small room. The white walls brilliant upon reflection of the solar rays, unlike their ordinary state, brightening the small hospice room considerably. A frail body, nestled in the afternoon haze, lay dreamily wrapped in IVs and cords as she stared out the glass. She smiled, remembering how tanned her skin used to be, looking now down to her bruised and pale arms. She remembered the sand between her toes, tying her brunette locks up in pink ribbons, sweating through her t-shirts and splashing in the endless ocean. The patient flexed her legs, shakily picking them up and moving them across the bed. Tears began to well up in her eyes, missing her ability to run across the fields outside her house, even the ability to run in late to class with a dumb giggle and a shabby excuse.
"Kassce?" A voice broke the quiet, creeping into the the room. As the door creaked open and allowed the visitor in, Kassce lightly turned her head and a smile spread across her face. "Mikey! What are you doing?" She asked, her voice sweet despite her sickly appearance. He was quiet, but the silence was comfortable. There wasn't a need to say anything, anyway, the lack of conversation between them was just a testament to how close they were now. He pulled up a chair, the usual routine, and sat down bedside. "You got the goods?" She joked, a weak giggle slipped, leading to a harsh coughing spasm, but her eyes remained bright.
Mikey pulled her hand open gently, and with his other hand, he dropped a handful of shells into her palm. He was smiling now, too, the excitement contagious. "These are spectacular!" She said, turning and admiring the new shells from the beach. Mikey shook his head, his grin growing. "Wait for this, I mean, there was something actually worth while on the beach this time." He said, pulling out pieces of sea glass and placing them into her hand as well. The soft teals and blues of the glass were excitedly welcomed by Kassce's cold palm, she bobbed her head happily as she stared down and admired the pieces. "That's not it, either, though." Mikey teased, saving the best for last.
He pulled his backpack off his shoulders, and pulled out a small glass bottle. Kassce began shaking her head, "No way! No way!" She repeated, giggling. "Is it really?"
"A message in a bottle." Mikey said, he beamed, seeing her excited. He went to work then, pulling the worn beige cork out of the bottle and fumbling to pull a small yellowed paper out of the bottle. "What does it say?" Kassce asked, hurriedly. She would be bouncing up and down, if she had the energy. Mikey frowned, raising an eyebrow.
"Oh! Is it in another language? That's so amazing." She hummed, wondering what was written on the note.
Mikey paused, and then shook his head. He shrugged, crumbling the note in his hands. "It was a recipe for pavlova?" He said, stumbling over his own words. "Pavlova?" Kassce asked, ignited with curiosity again. "I'd make that every summer, with lots of fruits and berries. Keep the recipe for me, in a safe place, you know the nurses will just throw away a weird piece of paper in here. I'll make it for you, do you know what Pavlova is? Have you ever had it?" Mikey smiled, shaking his head. "You said the same thing when that food magazine featured pavlova on the front cover." He laughed, seeing her nod.
As the sun set, Mikey was forced to leave. He shut the room door behind him, suddenly drained, pained by seeing her even worse off than yesterday. He hurt, seeing her wither away without a chance. As he walked out, he reached for the crumbled note from his pocket, opening it back up, biting his lip.
"She won't see another sunrise" was messily written across the paper. His throat stung, his chest hallowed out suddenly. It was a stupid note, written by some fucking teenager with a disgusting idea of a joke to leave on the damned Kyogo beach. He crumbled up the piece of paper, throwing it into the closest trashcan, and slumped over, wrapping his arms around his body. It was a damn joke, nothing to worry about. His breathing uneasy, he finally straightened to grab the familliar pair of headphones from his pack and place them rightfully onto his head. It'll be ok,. Tomorrow, nothing will be different. He'll go back to the beach and pick up more shells for Kassce, and there'll even be a new issue of that magazine she likes that he'll have to pick up, too. Maybe, he'll bring flowers this time. Maybe, one day, they'll go back to the beach together and look for shells again, just like they used to.