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Words Preserved Within Memory

By @Grallingbo

“Most of the dying don’t want to die, right?”

Oakley stared up at the sky as he said this, scanning the vast sea of blue with his dark brown eyes. To his left, Florence was staring at him, his gaze filled with inquiry.

The two of them had been sitting on the bench for at least 30 minutes now, letting the silence fill their surroundings as they took in the city life. The streets were awfully barren for a place known to be bubbling with people. This allowed the soft sounds of the city to be fully heard by both Oak and Flo.

Florence, during the whole 30 minutes, was worried that Oakley’s mind was racing again, like how it usually does. A racing mind can crash; Oakley’s mind crashes frequently.

“Some cry out, and some beg. Some can come to terms with their eventual passing, others need qualification from others. They need to be told that it’s okay to die.”

Florence nodded in agreement, taking his eyes off of Oakley and letting his attention wander the street. Oakley proceeded to speak; “It makes me think a little, how will I go? How’m I gonna respond as I’m staring Death straight in the face, my last breath just seconds away?”

Oakley’s gaze fell to the ground.

“If I’m dying slowly and I have time to think, then I don’t know what I’d say. Then, I could think about it harder.”

A few seconds of silence pass before Oakley decides to look straight at Florence. “You know, more often than not the darkest goodbyes can be questions. What you don’t know is that fact scares me a whole lot.”

Florence felt it. He felt what was going to be said next, and even though he wanted to avoid it, he couldn’t prevent it himself.

“Charley didn’t go out so bad.”

“Oakley, please–“

“I’m not FINISHED, Flo.”

Florence tried his hardest not to stare Oakley down. God knows he wanted to. Oak knows this is a hazardous subject; after all, Charmaine had died but a week ago. Hearing those words not long after his passing simply knocks the wind out of poor Florence.

“He didn’t die with a haunting shout. He didn’t die with an agonized whisper. Neither of those, Florence, neither of those, because he didn’t want to!”

Oakley paused to breathe. Florence could hear the pure sadness and anger from his labored, heavy breaths.

“He spent his last five years trying so hard to preserve his memories. Trying so hard to remember what he could so easily back then. But he was losing it faster than he was retaining it! And no one could stop it!”


What do you want?” Oakley screamed, turning his wet eyes upon Florence.

This prompted Florence to turn and look at Oak. Their eyes met, both moist and puffy from tears that haven’t even fallen yet.

“He went out with a whisper, a smile, and a breath. Something almost comedic, something people will remember me for and be able to laugh about his previous existence. If he couldn’t even remember his own name, you know he’d make sure that everyone else did. You crying about his death is everything Charley never wanted to come out of it.”

Oakley opened his mouth, but quickly shut it almost immediately. Oakley broke eye contact with Florence and stared off into the distance, his breathing becoming more uneven.

“You know that even if you are going to be feeling this way, he’d want you to let it all out too,” Florence said, putting a hand on Oakley’s shoulder.

That was when Oakley began to cry.

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