Home > Stories > The only difference was that I didn’t wake up

The only difference was that I didn’t wake up

If we could go back, what would we change? If we had one more chance at love, would it last? If out of all the time spent together, the memories created, the emotions shared, if I could describe one moment in time spent with you, that made me feel love, paint our whole relationship onto one canvas, where I could show you our colour, in which you loved me for a split second, one brush stoke- that will make our art worth remembering, will make your walking away worth forgiving, and will give me the strength to paint my life in my own colours.

Our canvas painted so much beauty in the depths of ugliness.  The situation we were in, filled with worry, pain, tears and fear brought forth the beautiful love inside each of us.  It put all our differences aside, all our disagreements, our pointless fights, our uncertainty about what the future holds for us. All that didn’t matter, all that seemed distant and the most important thing was getting through this moment… healing, together for each other, with each other.  That was the certainty, the hope that nothing bad will happen. The certainty that we love each either, despite our problems, our differences our future plans, they are nothing compared to what we were feeling in this hospital room.

Do you remember that night, when you first came to visit me at the hospital? I remember, my sister had told me that you’re coming, and I tried to make myself look pretty, put on some lip gloss, combed my hair, straightened my blue hospital dress that looked so dreadful and brought the pale out in me, and for the first time, I sat up straight, with a weak smile to show you that I am strong and I am okay.

The moment you walked in, my heart burst with emotion, when I saw my reflection in your eyes. The way you looked at me, as if I was wearing the most beautiful dress, complete with perfection. You sat next to me with so much worry on your face, asking a million and one questions if I needed anything, if there’s anything, anything you can do, and all I wanted was to hold your hand, feel your warmth and have you close. Having you there by my side gave me hope, gave me strength to fight my illness, to cure myself, to be okay so we can be “us” again. I wanted to get better as quickly as possible, for you, for our journey together.

I remember I asked the nurse if we could go for a walk, I hadn’t been outside for a few days and it was a beautiful evening, light rain, calm with the evening sky glistening as the moon hid behind the tearing clouds. As if the universe was a reflection of the heaviness inside my chest and the tears flowed like rain as I rested my head on your shoulders.  We walked, slowly. Every step we took together, with your arm around me, supporting me, keeping me straight up and walking side by side… every step with me. I remember the IV was heavy to push and you held on to it, as if it was your energy flowing through my body.  That moment, is what it means to be in a relationship. To be someone’s companion, to walk beside them in the times of need, in the most vulnerable state possible. It’s the journey of overcoming obstacles, lending a supporting a hand, being so careful and attentive, most importantly, caring. Caring that I walk with you, that I don’t fall, that my IV is held up correctly, that the needle is not hurting my hand, making sure that you’re there, standing, strong and firm to catch me if I fall, this 10 minute walk from my hospital room gave me strength to walk forward in life with you. It was at that moment, that I knew, with all my heart, my soul, that I love you.

We sat outside on a bench, at the entrance of Mount Sinai Hospital, watched the rain drops falling in the little ponds that surfaced all over the ground. We sat there in silence, listening to each other’s heart beating, to my heavy breaths, to the rain drops, the cars passing by, the distant chatter of visitors, the ambulance sirens. We sat, my head on your shoulders, as if all those sounds were background noise and time flew by us, I imagined we are sitting in a park, both 90 years old, me resting my head on your shoulder and watching the rain together,  at that moment- I saw a glimpse into our future.

I looked up in your eyes and said “I am scared; I am scared of what is happening, of what will happen”

“Everything will be okay. They are just doing tests, nothing to be scared of”

“Remember, we would argue about us leading different lives. Me wanting to travel, you wanting to settle in one place, close to your family…”


“I want to be close to you, wherever you are; I want to be so close to you”

“You’re just saying that, what if you start to resent me because you won’t be doing what you love to do”

I was silent.

What I really wanted to say was “silly, you are my love.  Without you there is nothing worth doing, being with you, seeing you happy is my love. I am not sacrificing anything to be with you, I’d love to sacrifice my everything for you”


You held me closer, tighter, as if you already knew deep down you would let me go. I remember looking up at the sky, making a wish that this moment never ends. I felt as if all my pain, my illness, was cured in an instant. I couldn’t wait to get out of this hospital and give you the biggest hug that I had no energy for at that moment. I couldn’t grasp my hands in yours, that’s how I weak I was. I couldn’t even hold on to you… And I sat there, my head resting on your shoulders, your warm breath against my skin.

We sat in silence for a while. I completely lost all sense of time but it got a bit chilly, and we walked back up to my room. You helped me get into bed, tucked me in, and I remember asking you to stay, to lay next to me. “I’ll come back to visit, I promise and you’ll be fine by then”

And you left. Taking my life with every step you took away from me. My heart left me that night, my soul attached to yours,  I remember wishing I had one more moment with you, where I could tell you “I love you” where I could hold on you one last time and ask you to never let go.

And you left.

I am blown away in the hurricane of your thoughts.
A cyclone of confusions, an earthquake of two souls
Separated, shattered, crumbled
Aftermath echoes into my skin that crawls into my only piece of heart left as you left
I was breathing your name

Come in to me.
Come see my heart while it’s beating. 

It was that night, there was loud thunder, bright lightening as if the world would come to an end, destroy everything ever beautifully created, shake the ground beneath our feet and leave our emotions wavering.  Everyone slept during the storm, tucked under their blankets, warm, I also slept.  The only difference was that I didn’t wake up.

Areej Rashid


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