Here we have our fist reader submitted story for the chosen title; ‘William’s Last Words’
We’d like to say a vast thank you to Barbara Fieschi-Jones for getting involved and we hope you enjoy her story and show her some support by spreading her words.
WILLIAM’S LAST WORDS
“Oh dear.” uttered William as he could see the grim reaper grabbing him by the hand and taking him to the great unknown.
William’s last words.
There were preceded by many more, a lifetime of words. 93 years, excluding his toddling babbles, 95, including them.
William had been a special man, to his own standards and to others. He had been a piece of work too.
He had always wondered when it would end for him, a worry that kept him awake, cold and sweaty, many nights of his younger years. He had been afraid of losing everything he had in this life he enjoyed so much. As he reached his nineties and lost what made existence beautiful, that worry had faded and eventually got replaced by a whole new one.
How would it happen? He had been torn between childish curiosity and sheer terror.
He hated that life was a game and that he would, eventually lose.
So he had promised himself to outsmart death by being a gracious loser, possibly a humorous one, definitely a clever one, but never a dull one.
That was all he had managed to say, in a weak, even whisper. Disgraceful.
And that full stop was making it even worse. “Oh dear!” would have been more assertive. “Oh dear?” would have added an element of surprise, “Oh dear, “ would have fooled the word into thinking he had run out of time mid-sentence.
What a kick in the dentures.
He had lost. And he didn’t care for that at all.
He hadn’t managed to choose from the list of final words he had worked on for the past year.
That list had been everything for him, his pass-time, his friend, his reminder that
he still had his wits about, but none of it came out. Because surely, among all the possibilities, “Oh dear.” wasn’t on there. Oh dear full stop enunciated with a mix of resignation and lameness, was fucking not on there.
William chuckled. A brief jerking of his weakened body.
A small bipping sound came from somewhere. Strange noise. Wasn’t death supposed to be a quiet place at last? Since when did death become digitalised?
The bipping sound grew louder and faster. Very strange.
“Brenda! Brenda Come here! He’s not passed! He’s moving!”
William opened his eyes. Not passed? Wasn’t he? Where the fuck was he?
“Where the fuck am I” he heard himself say.
“It’s okay, dear you’re okay, you gave us a big scare. There, there.”
He wasn’t gone yet. “Oh dear. “ hadn’t been his last words after all. Oh joy! Oh relief!
“Easy grandpa, easy, no dancing for now, you just had a cardiac arrest.”
William reclined back on his pillow, taking in the yellowish hospital light, the grim bed spread and the faint TCP smell.
“You ain’t going anywhere for now, you’ll have to rest here a for a while.”
Resting here for a while didn’t do it much for William. And if life had a door he’d happily slam it in the patronising nurse’s face. Just to piss her off. If at least she’d
been pretty, but no. She was an ageing blob of a woman, with greasy mousy hair and a chin that made her look like a shoe.
“Are you Brenda?”
“Yes, I am grandpa, it’s all okay, just rest now.”
“Fuck off Brenda.”
The nurse’s pasty face turned crimson and she looked like she could have strangled him with her bare chubby hands.
Oh good. Maybe she’d kill him and he wouldn’t have to stay here. But she didn’t. Instead she plugged him onto a respirator and put him on a drip.
“That’s quite a mouth you have grandpa. Now hold still. You need those to stay alive. Nighty night.” The sight of her giant rear as she left the room made him wince.
What now? Stay here with Shoe-face under a dodgy bedspread? Stay here plugged onto a weird accordion that did his breathing for him and wired to liquid food? Really?
William snatched the needle of his arm and pulled the plug.
“Come on death, I’ll lead the way.” And he closed his eyes, letting a final smile spread across his face.