I sat at the table looking out of the window to the river rushing by, trying to steady myself. Trying to anticipate how it would be, telling myself to remain calm, to not cry, to not make it about me.
The waitress brought my drink. I toasted, with a nod to the empty chair. Holding back the tears that were prickling my eyes, wiping the sweat of my palms on my jeans and swallowing hard, the dry lump in my throat.
I ate the dinner in silence. Thousands of thoughts racing in my head. Conversations. Things I would and wouldn’t say.
I went up to my hotel room, checked the time and waited. My stomach lurching. My body began to tremble.
I placed my phone on the dressing table, it was upright and facing the chair. I sat down heavily in it as my legs turned to jelly.
It began to ring that recognisable tone, exclusive to facetime. My heart nearly stopped and with bated breath and a fake smile, I answered.
She looked fabulous, Tired but her usual beautiful self. Her usual cheerful smile. Cracking jokes and making small talk. Her family with her, her husband and children by her side. Her other child, mother and sister on another facetime call.
Distance of being in another country, difficult, but at least we had technology.
‘I really hope i go tonight’, she said. ‘I’m ready’.
‘i love you. I’ll miss you, but i hope you get your wish’ I said, my heart breaking into pieces and taking everything i had, to not cry.
‘I love you too’ she said
When i hung up the phone i stared at my reflection in the mirror. I was glad in that moment i was alone in the hotel room. I was grateful no one could get to me, to try comfort me. There was no comfort knowing your best friend was about to die.
I walked over to the bed all I could do was punch down so fiercely on the pillows, and scream and cry to try let out the sheer anger that consumed by being.
It was the hardest goodbye I ever had, but I’m so grateful to have been able to have that moment with her.