© Traci Sanders
I never pondered the sunset much … until today. I lead a busy life and don’t make the time to stop and take in the wonder of nature. Not that it matters anymore. This will be my last day alive.
I was exposed to a deadly virus at the hospital. There is no vaccine for it, no cure. I know this because I developed it. Well, I was part of the team of doctors who brought it to fruition.
How could I have been so foolish? I’m usually quite careful. But I had a lot on my mind. Well, just one thing—or one person, really.
She was the love of my life. I laid her soul to rest last week, when cancer took her from me. We were married for nearly fifty years and did everything together … dancing, scuba diving, and even kayaking. That was Irene’s favorite thing—kayaking. Even during those extreme adventures, I didn’t focus on much of anything other than my sweet Irene. Her beauty surpassed any sunset or coral reef we discovered. I loved to see her smile.
We never had children, though I know she wanted them desperately. I always told her it wasn’t the right time. I’m actually glad we didn’t end up with children because losing a mother like the one Irene would have made, would have been devastating for a child.
In all my twenty years of living on this beach, I don’t think I’ve seen one other kayaker. Irene must have sent this person to let me know she’s ready for me to come join her. That’s what I’d like to think, anyway. Just a few more hours, sweetheart, and I will be there.
My senses are alive, though my flesh is dying. The ocean offers a warm, moist breeze across my face. The gulls are serenading me with a playful tune. This sunset is the most beautiful one I can remember ever viewing. I regret not sharing more picturesque moments like this with Irene before she passed. She would often beg me to come onto the back porch to watch it with her. I was always too busy with “groundbreaking research.”
Though onlookers would imagine I am sitting here taking in another sunset, my body is failing me from the inside out. The poison is seeping into my veins and ambushing my bloodstream.
I became a doctor to save lives, and to find a cure for cancer—particularly the kind that stole Irene. Ironic, the one thing I developed to save lives, is taking mine with a rapid force. But the bright side is my theory was right. The virus I created in my 10 x 12 lab is going to allow many more birthdays, anniversaries, weddings … for some.
I left all of my notes and results of my experiments in my journal at the office for my team. It will be a bittersweet discovery for them. Finally, a cure for cancer was found. Sadly, it’s too late for Irene to benefit from it, but millions more will get to spend their lives with those they love because of something I created.
The one glitch about this “miracle medicine”—if it comes into contact with air for more than thirty seconds, the unlucky person administering or handling it at that moment, dies within twenty-four hours. I was in a daze that afternoon, reminiscing about my sweet Irene, and lost track of time.
Was it worth it? To me—yes. I leave no other loved ones behind. No family. Nothing undone. Irene was my only family, and now I go to meet her.
My blood slows. My heart refuses the vibrant pace it once enjoyed. My lids are heavy and close once more. A final sunset. I’m done.