Roasting with fevers, my bed becoming a pool of sweat.
“How much can one person get sick?” my husband asks.
I shake my head.
I do not know.
I go to the doctor.
She frowns, orders tests and x-rays.
I gulp back tears.
I thought she would maybe tell me I was overreacting, that it was nothing but a bad year for colds.
She does not.
It might be nothing, it might be something. We need to rule it all out.
I stumble around the corner to the blood test lab.
I wish I’d brought my husband for this.
Just want to turn him over in my hand like a smooth, constant river rock.
She has a head scarf covered in flowers and gentle eyes.
As she prepares the vials and needles, I sit on the grey throne.
I begin to fixate on all that could be wrong.
Then, I raise my eyes.
There, on the other wall, is posters upon posters of natural miracles: lightning, sand dunes, sunrises.
Some capture my eye: clouds dousing rain across vistas.
And suddenly, I am enthralled by this realisation:
Even if I go
that is what I will do.
I will be a cloud.
I will roam the earth
pouring my love across all that I meet.
I smile. This makes me very happy.
Yes, that is what I will do.
I will watch you all and listen to your stories and I will love you.
Men and women and children, animals and ocean and earth.
I will love you and want only for your best.
I will believe in you.
I will love you. I will shower you with love.
It doesn’t matter what these tests (either now or later) will say.
It doesn’t matter if this is just a speedbump or a collision.
It doesn’t matter if the journey like this, as a Leonie, is long or short. I’ve already lived longer than my brother, than my dad’s brother, than my friend’s children. It’s never about the length of time of life for love to make an impact.
Each day is an endless facing of mortality, whether we know or not.
What’s important is this:
I remember what I am now.
I remember what I was born to do.
I’ll just keep doing the very same thing.
I’ll be a cloud.
Note: I wrote this piece three years ago, but did not publish it at the time. It felt too raw, too precious, too vulnerable. I’ve kept it in my drafts this whole time, and thought of that feeling often, and felt it was time to share it publicly, to keep on record. I didn’t kark it from that patch of ill health. But one day I will die. As we all will. And I want to remember my wish to be a cloud.