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Submitted on
October 27, 2012
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  She had tried and dared but she could not escape. She lied in her bed, watching the birds fly to freedom. If only I could join you, if only I could… she would think, watching them fly. She had barely the strength to move. She had purple blotches on her skin and a stream of blood dripping from her mouth. She had grown weaker by the day and soon a decent amount of time passed. No, her adoptive mother did not help her and concluded that beating her would not put her out of her misery soon enough, so she figured she would just let her die and dispose of her promptly after she did.

    She lied in bed, with no strength. She was very sick and had an unusual illness. Actually, it wasn’t really unusual as much as it was deadly and it could be found in a medical dictionary. However, they didn’t own nor did they know where to find one. She was very sick and wondered if anyone would remember her name. Her adoptive mother almost never called her the name she possesed. She has one, yes, she does, and her name, the name she held fast to and the first thing she said, is Toki. She wondered if she would have a proper burial. No one knew if she would or wouldn’t.

        She had hardly the strength to move and felt like an abandoned doll. That’s what she was to her adoptive mother, a doll that she got tired of and left abandoned. She lied there like one and she was alone in her suffering. She was practically dying and felt no one cared. Of course, this was partially not to case because someone cared. Her brothers cared about her and they were the first to take care of her and promised they do so forever. It pained them deeply to see her in pain, practically dying. She wanted freedom from the abuse she was given.

        They all did. All three of them wanted to be free but, in Toki’s case, she would’ve preferred to die quietly, in peace, away from the beatings and the abuse. “Perhaps, you want to go outside, Toki?” Jinx suggested, knowing full-well that she would not be cheered up. She didn’t really answer and figured it made no difference. They brought her outside, wondering if she just needed fresh air but, no, they knew she needed something more than just fresh air. In fact, she needed a doctor but, in the circumstances they were in, they wondered if it would be of any use. The propped her up against their tree as they went about her chores, leaving her to watch the birds again.

        If only, I could fly with you, if only, I could… she would think, wishing she could be free. She remembered that she is loved but, in her pain, she was alone and frail. She decided that she was to die free from this torment she suffered. Her eyes filled with tears and she reached her frail hand out, whispering “If only I could fly like you, then I’d be free.” Then, she wept bitterly. Of course, her adoptive mother was only in the mood to beat her whenever she dared to do something that irritated her. However, to put that simply, in a disproportionately lawful sense, she would Toki even for crying. Once she did, that struck a chord in Toki. A match had been lit and she would seek escape.

        She went to bed with severe injuries and, the next day, there was a halo of blood around her. She was deathly pale and was pretty anemic. Her brothers brought her outside and sat her under the tree like before. However, she hatched plan. No longer was she to die like this, with beatings that almost drained her blood and for her to suffer in her bloodied bed. With final ounce of her strength, the only amount she could muster, she got up and, while no one looked or noticed, walked towards the street. As she walked, the sun stung her and the pain made it difficult but she persisted. She wanted to make it to the street and that was exactly what she was to do.

        Her motive for trying to make it to the street was clear, yes, it was. If she could not save herself, then she was to die in peace. She was very sick and wanted to put an end to her misery. She continued walking until she collapsed, only a foot away from the street. Before her eyes closed, she stared off into the distance, her vision starting to blur, watching the birds fly, whispering, “If only, songbirds, I could fly and be free like you, then I would be at peace.” She lost consciousness and, as odd as it sounded, she never felt so peaceful. At least, I almost made it to the street… she thought. Yes, she almost made it to the street and was satisfied that at least she tried to escape.

        About thirty minutes had passed, almost as if mourning, songbirds had collected around her, singing a melancholic song, and field mice gathered around her as if attending a funeral service, bowing their heads and lowering their ears almost as if in prayer or weeping. The grass like the fingers of a gentle hand seemed to cradle her and the sun made a small spotlight before fading away, as if to kiss her bruised face. It seemed the world was mourning over her battered, bruised, and near lifeless body, a victim of unreasonable cruelty. As she lied unconscious, Jinx and Spin discovered her missing. They went to find her and found her exactly where the songbirds gathered around her. The clouds started to grey, before it started to rain, the heavens weeping for her.

        They knew what they were to do and that was take her to the hospital. Gently picking her up and as the songbirds scattered, the two carried her to the hospital that was more than three miles away. By this time, she had started to awake and her brothers reassured her. When they got to the hospital with a limp and battered Toki, the doctors recognized her symptoms on the spot. “Leukemia.” said a doctor and, from a nurse, taking Toki from them, said “We’ll be lucky if we could do anything for her.” They placed her on a gurney and whisked her away, her frail sobs heard. They all knew what leukemia was and it was cancer. The verdict the nurse had  delivered did not fall on deaf ears and they knew she might not survive and that she had already reached the later stages of the disease.

        Within 24 hours, authorities were alerted to the neglectful treatment she had recieved but that was not justice. She had been more than just neglected. The system failed her and she lied in a hospital bed dying. She was started on chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants, and blood transfusions but she didn’t seem to stomach the treatments well. Bit by bit each day, she grew a little weaker and a little stronger but it was almost never enough. She watched her charts and knew her white cell count had dwindled exponentially.

    Once her daily treatments were done, she would look outside and watch the birds fly. At least, you are free to live another day, my songbirds. She often thought, reaching her frail hand out to the window. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she never bothered to wipe them. Day and night, she cried, despite the doctors’ efforts to make her comfortable and cheer her up. Jinx and Spin often pushed her around in a wheelchair, spending whatever time they could with her.

        After some time, the treatments seemed to have no effect and had weakened her even more. The doctors had done all they could and they gave her a three weeks to live. At this, Toki broke down in tears. She wanted to do something before she died and that was finding someone precious she lost long ago. Her dreams of seeing that person again were crushed along with her heart. She looked at an old photograph, from a time long ago. I guess I’ll never see you again! She thought. With her frail delicate fingers, she folded her colored paper into a flower. This was the only thing she could do and had made quite a few and it did cheer her up to some extent.

When Jinx and Spin visited her, she asked them to take her on the balcony. They did as she wished. With her eyes closed, she looked toward the sky, absorbing what she felt to be her last bit of sun rays. The three spent the entire day outside, watching birds and butterflies fly and smelling the flowers. She even let the wind blow threw whatever hairs she had. Visiting hours soon ended and she was back to crying. She cried all night before falling asleep the next morning.

Her brothers visited her and held her hands. No, she had no intention on dying but, be it so, death is the only solution to end her suffering. The treatments to underwent were to only ease her death, as far as she knew. Every day, for her final weeks, she was tired, sad, frail, and alone. No one else suffered what she suffered. Her heart was shattered like a fine vase and so was she. Her adoptive mother threatened to take her brothers away from her and the illness she had threatened to kill her. Either way, she wanted none of it. “If it bothers you two, you can leave, rather than stay and watch me die.” she said, with tears rolling down her cheeks. They gripped her hands tighter and Jinx, with Spin agreeing, said, “We do not wish and now will we leave you alone in your final moments.”

 Visiting hours ended and Toki felt her life slip away. The nurses often left a window open for her (having leukemia isn’t without occasional fevers that spiked up pretty high) and allowed her to stay up and watch whatever movie she chose. The movie she often chose focused on the theme of impermanence and all things ephemeral. Yes, she’s watched Grave of the Fireflies so many times that she can explain it scene by scene and this wasn’t without her wondering if she was the same. She too, a child (biologically), living a short life, a flame of impermanence. One night, while watching the movie she picked, she met firefly, one of the things that was also ephemeral but renewed her will and desire to live. This firefly was special and she made a wish never to for them to meet again in the same life, outliving their predicted time. Both had three weeks, equally ephemeral. However, that night changed the course of her illness.

After that, she started to get well. The illness was being destroyed by the treatments. After three weeks, when she was expected to be dead, she was cured. However, while she looked well, the scars were deep and imbedded in her being and were to be for a long time. Nothing could undo what has been done and the damage was there. Now, what lied dormant in this sweet girl was a bad bone that had yet to turn her cruel. In fact, the bad bone is what her poisoned her being in the first place.    

Toki's time while ill with leukemia and, well, as I've mentioned, read while listening to sad music to set the mood.
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