He couldn’t see them but he could feel them. He could feel their presence surrounding him as he laid in his hospital bed. The uncomfortable sound of silence soon followed, immediately feeling a sense of dread as he wondered why they were there.

But instead of opening his eyes to the usual nurses, family and IV drip, feeling a sense of comfort and safety; this time when he opened his eyes there was an off putting feeling. A sense of dread, a sense of fear, a sense that he was now on borrowed time as he heard the clock above his head tick louder than before while in the company of these two new nurses. But before he could gather his thoughts and ask, he was quickly interrupted. “Why did you let us die?” A loud voice from the foot of his bed shouted, rattling his eardrums, leaving a slight ring. “Wha…” He was still disoriented as he replied, wondering if the chemotherapy drugs that he was given were somehow stronger than before. “You heard her. Why? It’s been thirty long years Stephen. All this time you had opportunities you could’ve pursued and even excelled at, but you decided to cast us aside for accounting and cigarettes. Now you’re here dying, not just physically but spiritually. You could’ve done so much more for yourself…” Another voice bellowed, this time from the right side of the bed.

Six months ago, Stephen and his family had gotten the news that there wasn’t much else the doctors could for his terminal lung cancer that was worsening by the day so he was forced to check in a hospice for his final days. He wasn’t really that surprised about the news after all, he had spent the past 30 years chain smoking, so it was only a matter of time before the cigarettes would catch up to him. Stephen smirked at their remarks. He had no idea who these women were, who just appeared out of nowhere telling him who he is and how he lived his life. “Ladies no disrespect, but I’ve lived my life to the fullest. Sure I was ok at certain things like drawing but it was never a career for me, just a silly dream and nothing more. Trust me, I was content at my job as an accountant, it was what I wanted to do for my family.” Stephen replied confidently

“Ok. But was it what you wanted to do for yourself? Pursuing something that you were good at and could’ve improved on were silly dreams to you? Admit it, it wasn’t a priority to you. You were scared to make it one. Tell me Stephen. Is this what you really wanted?” “Once again yes it is. Of course except for the cancer that this is what I want for my life.” He sounded uneasy responding the second time, secretly hoping that they wouldn’t notice. “Are you sure? Because it’s easy to just work, pay bills, have a family, and then just die. It sounds a lot like your life right now Stephen.” The other nurse responded. The nurse who was standing at the foot of the bed walked over to his left side, and if Stephen didn’t know better he swore that her eyes were seeing through his soul. “This is who we are. We are the ambitions, dreams, and goals that you had left behind. For thirty years we stood in the background while you lived your life smoking and crunching numbers, it’s such a pity that we must come with you. Look at the life that you’ve never lived, all because you listened to the lies you told yourself about being a failure if you took any type of risk.”

It was then for the very first time in his life that he started to cry, not for anyone but for himself. He realized that they were right as much as he didn’t want to admit it, everything that he did in life was safe, didn’t bother to take a risk in anything and stayed behind his desk. Behind his desk he was lying to himself, thinking that accounting and his family was all he needed to live a fulfilling life but in reality, he was just existing. Once he saw the pale, lifeless nurse’s hand come towards him, his breathing suddenly grew shorter, feeling his lungs grasp for every bit of air. The closer her hand went near him, the weaker he became, as if she was draining the life out of him. “It’s time Stephen. You chose a life of ordinary based on safety and fear rather than a life of extraordinary based on risk and chance,” She said with a cold stare and tone. “There’s no turning back now and as a result we must die with you forever leaving your obituary to only say that you were a loving husband, father, and an accountant.” Stephen tried to scream for help, he wasn’t ready to leave but didn’t have enough air to breathe, leaving his cries to fall on empty walls and deaf ears. He prayed that this was all a part of a horrific nightmare but it wasn’t. His room grew dark, and as the clock above his head suddenly stop ticking, so did his heart. Soon after, he walked out of the room with the nurses hand in hand, leaving behind a sick, gaunt body followed by a pension and a will, all the while taking his true potential to the grave.


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