The Little Things by Sara Veara

“Are you Charlotte Davis?” a deep, strong voice asked a kind-hearted girl who stood in the frame of the doorway to the house. The girl nodded with a confused look on her face. 

“We regret to inform you that your father and brother passed away this evening. There was a car accident and they died on the scene. We are deeply sorry for your loss Miss Davis.” Charlotte was unsure of how to respond. She stood there motionless, unable to truly grasp the words that were released from the police officer’s mouth. Minutes of silence and stillness passed. Charlotte gently closed the door, allowing her to now express her true emotion. She turned around dropping to the floor, screaming and crying hysterically. 

Charlotte laid on the floor all night until the morning sun broke through the cracks of the curtains. She mustered up the courage to rise from the cold floor and get something to eat. Sitting at the kitchen table with her soggy bowl of cereal, Charlotte’s phone rings. 

“Hello?” 

“Hi, my name is Nicole. I am a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital. Are you Charlotte Davis?”

“Yes, why?”

 “I am calling to inform you that someone came in by the name of Grant asking for you. He came in last night unconscious after a drug overdose, but we have since woke him up. We ask that you find time to come in today. The sooner, the better.” Charlotte hung up the phone without saying anything. Slamming her bowl of soggy cereal on the floor, she rose from her chair, grabbed her keys, and walked out the front door. 

When Charlotte arrived at the hospital, she was greeted by a group of nurses at the nurses station. 

“Is Nicole here?” Charlotte asked in a low, soft voice. A girl came to the front of the counter and introduced herself. The nurse then took Charlotte to Grant’s room. She explained that his heart stopped an hour ago but they were able to revive him. Nicole then explained to Charlotte that if his heart stops again, there is a one in one hundred chance that they can get him back. Charlotte prepared herself to say goodbye. 

Charlotte stood there over her boyfriend’s dying body, listening to the ear piercing sounds of his heart coming to a stop. The hospital staff asked Charlotte to leave, but she just stood there. She had become a frozen statue, unable to move. The nurses came in to tell her where she could go to process what had happened. Charlotte just looked at them. 

“Process this?! You want to take me to a room where I will be able to sit and think and hear all the damn thoughts running through my head. I lost my father and brother last night, now my boyfriend is gone, and you want me to go somewhere to process it! How about you stop for just a damn second and think about how you would feel in my shoes. There is no processing of this kind of trauma. If there is any at all, it takes some damn time. So don’t you dare ask me again if I would like to leave to go to a shitty ass room where I am going to sit there and drown myself in my own grief!” 

The nurses backed slowly away from Charlotte. She looked back at her lifeless boyfriend lying on the bed, grabbed his hand, and said her final goodbye. A couple seconds after letting go of his cold, limp hand, Charlotte walked carefully out of the room, making it a priority to avoid eye contact with everyone in her path. 

Walking out into the hallway, Charlotte disregarded the instructions given to her by the nurse. She proceeded to walk towards the exit doors. Just before she reached the exit, Charlotte saw an older woman sitting on a bench by the revolving door. Something gravitated Charlotte to this woman so she proceeded to walk over and approach the woman. 

“Is this seat taken?” Charlotte kindly asked, gesturing to the empty spot next to her. She looked up at Charlotte with big eyes and slowly shook her head no. Sitting down next to the woman, Charlotte asks her why she is here.

“I come here every month on this day. It is the day that my husband passed two years ago. He died of liver cancer, it progressed quickly and took him rather fast.” the woman said.

“I am so sorry for your loss. What is the lily for?” Charlotte questioned the woman who was holding a single lily in her hand. 

“Tommy, my husband, would get me a single lily every single birthday, anniversary, or special occasion. Lily’s are my favorite flower and to me they are the same as a dozen roses.” the woman explained to Charlotte. 

“Ah. So why are you sitting here, holding a droopy flower?”  

“I come and I sit. I watch and I wait.”

“What are you waiting for?” 

“For people to realize that death is inevitable and it is just a part of life.”

“No. Why would you wait for people to realize that? Death is scary, depressing, and tortue. We just have to keep on living after God takes away the people that we love most. Why does He decide to do that to people who have done absolutely nothing wrong? In my life, I always thought that people would live forever, but apparently the universe had other plans for me. People think that the person actually dying is the worst part, but it is figuring out how to live without them that sucks.”

Silence grew between Charlotte and the woman. They sat there taking in everything that Charlotte had just said. After a few minutes of silence had passed, the woman looked at Charlotte. 

“Darling. Death is scary but you have to learn to live with it because no matter how hard we try or how bad we want to, they are never going to come back. Now we must realize that we have to appreciate all the things that we did with them and remember the good times.” Charlotte looked at the woman, tears flooded her eyes, and she nodded. Charlotte then got up and went home. 

Every month after that, Charlotte went back to the hospital on the same day she met the woman there for the first time for a year. Without fail, the woman would be there sitting on the bench. The woman and Charlotte would sit there and talk for hours upon hours. They would talk about everything under the sun. From the best sushi restaurants to their worst haircuts. Those were some of the lighter topics that they talked about. Some days they would go to deeper topics. Those topics ranged from death to a crisis of faith. The woman gave Charlotte a lot of advice on the heavier topics, as she was wiser than Charlotte was because she had experienced those things already in her life. 

“It’s unfair. I am a good person. I get good grades and I never get in trouble. Now I am forced to live on my own at 19 and fend for myself. He took my mother away from me when I was 5. He took my father and my brother away from me, both on the same night. The next morning, He stole my boyfriend from me. Now, He has taken away the only thing I had left to live for and that was my faith in Him.”

“Oh sweetie, do not lose your faith. I know sometimes it may be hard to keep your faith in Him, but you have to at least try. When you lose people in life you have to-” the woman fell suddenly silent. Charlotte looked over at the woman’s head hanging low and her body motionless. She quickly called for a nurse and watched as they came and took the woman’s body away. Charlotte didn’t even know the woman’s name, but she waited for news about her because she felt as if it was the right thing to do. 

“Excuse me? Hi. I was wondering if you could give me any information about the woman who got taken back that was in the lobby. I am her daughter and was wondering how she was doing.” Charlotte lied to the hospital staff at the nurses station.

“Oh my gosh, of course! Let me go get an update for you!” the cheerful nurse who was standing at the front said. Charlotte waited in the lobby for not even five minutes before the nurse came back with a dreary look on her face. 

“I am so sorry. Mrs. Levine unfortunately did not make it. She had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  We did everything that we could but we couldn’t save her. I can take you back to see her and you can say your goodbyes.” 

The nurse calmly led Charlotte back to the room where the woman was. Charlotte entered the room and stood at the woman’s bedside. Charlotte talked to the woman and said that she would make sure that she always remembered the lessons that she taught her. 

A week later, Charlotte stood outside at the woman’s funeral. Charlotte didn’t know anyone there and felt out of place. She contemplated leaving, but she knew that she needed to stay. After all was said and done, Charlotte approached the woman’s casket. She was the last one left as everyone else had left to go to the reception that was to follow the ceremony. Placing a lily on top of the woman’s casket, Charlotte said her final goodbye.

“I am glad that I gave you the opportunity to give you one last lily on your last day. I now know what life is about. Go be with Tommy, and tell him that I said hi. Goodbye Eleanor, thank you for teaching me about the little things.” 

Charlotte proceeded to turn around and walk away from the casket as a single tear fell from her eye. She paused, looked up at the sky, and smiled. Charlotte now would not spend one day brushing aside the little things in life, because in the long run they are what makes life amazing. 

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