Writing 101 Day 7: Assignment: Write about a contrast between two things using dialogue.
Revision 2: See comments below for the advice I employed
By Leneé Cobb
Although I assured my best friend I was fine—fine enough for her to take a shower—she’s been in there less than five minutes and I can no longer speak. She didn’t want to leave my side but I insisted. She looked like crap. She’s been up for days and I don’t know the half of how she got here. It’s a good three-hour flight from where she lives. She left her newborn baby to be by my side and when she lay down on the couch in the room for a brief shut-eye last night, she was out cold and sawing logs within seconds.
I’m fighting to stay with it—until she gets out—until my husband gets back. He left to grab a cup of coffee. This is so rough on him. I worry about him a lot.
This was supposed to be timed a little different—better—if there is such a thing.
Right now, the only one in the room with me is my sister-in-law. She’s standing on the left side of my bed holding my hand. It seems she’s been there glued to that exact spot for days. What a support she’s been.
I see a couple angels slip inside the room. They’re floating in the corners with understanding smiles. I’m rising from my body. I pray, “Lord, take care of them all. I wanted to say my goodbyes. I’d imagined them all surrounding me when the time came, and they’re here, but not here with me at this precise second. Please, Lord, grant me a few more minutes, just a few.” I descend back to where I was.
The bathroom door opens and my best friend comes out. I can hear my sister-in-law tell her, “It’s time, honey. She’s leaving us.”
I hear footfalls slap on the tiled floor in their rush to my right side and feel my friend as she grips my right hand. Both of my hands get squeezed in a sort of odd rhythm as each of these women stand beside me, praying.
I begin to lift from my body again and although my eyes are closed, I can see them. My friend glances away from my face, looks around, and asks, “Where’s Al?”
“He went to grab a coffee from the dining room. He should be back any time.”
I can hear my friend’s unspoken prayers. “Lord,” she’s saying, “heal her, please I beg you, Lord, bring her back and restore her to health.” She’s repeating this silent prayer as she watches my face.
I begin to rise again and as I look down upon me, I witness my temples turn blue and know my friend sees that too but still she prays her prayer, knowing I’m clinically dead.
More angels fill my room and surround my loved ones and me. My friend, she’s not ready for me to leave her. I know this. The angels know this. She shrugs off their comfort and keeps repeating her prayer. She’s not praying for nothing. I come back down and re-enter my body.
My sister-in-law is a little bit more prepared. She’s speaking aloud. “It’s all right, sweetie,” she’s saying to me, to my body. “It’s all right honey. You can go to Jesus now, it’s alright.” I rise again. Angels reach out for my spirit hand.
There’s a spiritual tug-of-war going on here between these two Christian women that the angels find amusing. I haven’t taken a breath in a long while but suddenly I’m back inside my body, my lungs fill with air, and my friend takes hope. “Yes, Lord, Yes! Heal her Lord and bring her back to us!”
Neither woman’s backing down. One encouraging me onwards; the other holding me here. I look to the angels for advice. They shrug, smiling kindly. It’s not up to them. The angels and I wait.
Minutes tick by and as I rise once more my husband rushes into the room, shouts my name and the word “NO!”
He runs to my right side and my friend relinquishes my hand to him as she steps back. He watches me rise from mortality and hover among the angels, then, hugging me tight, he cries.
There is a momentary stillness in time. My friend and my sister-in-law become silent. They sense what is around them and gaze about the room, reminding me of children searching for the first delicate snowflakes of winter, to touch things beyond their sight they know are real.