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Flash Fiction: Choosing Death to Live

JC is a freelance writer who has a degree in Applied Psychology. Aside from her course, writing about different topics is her passion.

The sunrise along the shore is just one of the few great things that life can give me. The heat is just warm enough to energize my weak body, the breeze is just cool enough to remind me of the fresh day, and the sound of the waves against the shore is relaxing enough to calm my mind.

I decide to watch the sun rising from the horizon today while walking near the coast. This is to distract me from thinking about Alex.

I miss him. This is our favorite place to go when we just want to relax and talk about stuff, but he is where he is supposed to be now. It is for his best.

I am aimlessly walking, barefooted against the sand when someone suddenly holds my hand and starts walking with me.

I halted and look at the person in surprise.

"You have been avoiding me." He said.

It is Alex.

“What are you doing here?”

“Walking with my girlfriend in our favorite place?” He playfully said and crooked a smile at me.

“Alex! You’re not supposed to be here! We talked about this, you should be in the hospital, you should-”

He cut me off and immediately tried to hush me down, still with a smile plastered on his face.

I do not like where this is going. This is not right.

“Hey, please calm down. I don’t want you to faint.” He held me on my shoulders and made me face him. “Listen to me first.”

I can’t help but freak out. He is supposed to be undergoing chemotherapy and preparing for his surgery.

“No! Don’t be stupid! I am dying, but it doesn’t mean that you should too.” My tears started to fall from my eyes as I look into his. He will again insist on his decision to stop his treatment for his cancer, and his eyes tell me that he has already decided “You have an option - a chance to live, and I don’t. You can live, you don’t have to think about me. Alex, please!”

This is why I have been avoiding him. My presence, while he is on his treatments, will just lead to this. He doesn't want to undergo treatments because he wants to be with me, he rather wants to stay with me and die. I cannot accept that, especially after everything he had done for me.

I have been sick for my whole life, my heart is weak and no treatment can fix it. Every day, I am getting weaker and weaker, and along with this is my acceptance of death and that a romantic relationship is not for me.

However, Alex came into my life and made me feel better and alive more than I ever did. He made me feel safe, special, and loved. He made me want to fight and live, but he also made me feel pain and question everything after we learn the news about his stage four pancreatic cancer. That day was the most devastating day of my life but I realized that I had to fight with him against his cancer as much as how he fought with me.

He never wanted to receive treatments because he thought it was too late for it, and he did not want to get weak and not be able to take care of me. His doctors, however, told us that he may still have a chance so I convinced him to have his treatments. After months of treatments, it worked and the cancer was mostly undetectable until last month when we learned that it came back. This time, he became more insistent on not undergoing treatments anymore.

He smiles at me. He is always smiling as if everything is just okay, and this is what makes me more upset. I cannot lose him, I cannot fathom the fact of not seeing that smile again.

“Listen to me, Max. I already did what you wanted, I had the surgery and took that awful chemotherapy for months. I do not want to do that again. I understood what the doctor said, I could do the procedure again, but my survival rate is lower now and I can't risk that. I made my decision, I rather spend my little time alive with my girlfriend, who has a failing heart, than immediately die during that surgery.”

“But-”

“No more buts, missy. This is what I want. The patient knows best, this is my body.” He showed his cocky smile again. “Besides, I already gave them my signature for the waiver. You can’t do anything about it anymore.”

“I don’t want you to die.”

“So am I, but I couldn’t do anything to stop you from dying. You are not getting better, either, Max. I don't want to die on the table with you avoiding me, and I also don't want to wake up from my successful surgery just to hear that you are gone. I cannot take those chances, I want to be with you."

"That's the most stupid thing I ever heard from you," I said not knowing what to say.

Deep inside I knew that he was right. Ironically, he was choosing death to live a life with me.

He lightly laughs.

"I’ve always thought before that I’d rather die with you when the day comes that you must go, and now I got what I want. I can stay by your side until the end. I couldn’t be any happier now. So, stop crying. Instead, let’s just start creating wonderful memories with each other until the last breath we take.”

I just look at him before nodding and smiling back. “Alright, you win. Let’s do that.”

He wipes my tears away.

“Good, let’s start today. Just like the old times.” He said and pulled me towards his bicycle on the pavement that he always used to drive me around.

We ride on his bike and stroll along the shore.

He is right. We will never know what the future holds hence, we must live every second of our lives without any regret - happy and feeling alive.

Death is inevitable, and this is the choice that we want to live with, to be together until the end.


© 2022 JC Guiao

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