The hospital room looked dim to Lewis. He knew it was not the fault of his surroundings. The fluorescent lights overhead were more than adequate to brighten up the cream-colored walls, white sheets, and the tan colored couch that sat near his bed. The nurse had raised the blinds so that the morning sun could stream inside and hopefully brighten up his day. Lewis knew his room was light and joyful, but his world appeared gray with faint tints of color amidst the gloominess.
Sarah had promised to be back. His daughter had to return home and care for her two-year-old daughter. Although her husband Bill had tried to get away from work, they refused to give him the time off he needed. In Bill’s boss’s opinion, Lewis could not be that close to death if the hospital was not administering any treatment. He did not realize Lewis had insisted on being left without needles and tubes sticking out of his body.
Lewis laid there alone in his hospital room. He could see the light becoming dimmer and felt his chest growing heavier. He wanted to wait for Sarah to return, but he was not sure if he had the time left. Lewis looked towards the window and slowly released a slight sigh. From the corner of his eye, he could see the room getting lighter.
Lewis turned and saw a woman standing in his doorway. At first, he thought she might be a nurse. Her white outfit seemed to light up the room. She was a beautiful woman with dark skin and shiny black hair. Her glow literally lit up Lewis’ hospital room. Her smile made his heart feel warm and content.
Lewis smiled and then said, “I don’t remember you coming to check on me before. You seem to be missing a nametag, what’s your name?”
The woman grinned, and Lewis swore his room got lighter. “I’m Samantha, but everybody calls me Sam. I came to take you home.”
The smile left Lewis’ face. “Oh, but I need to wait for my daughter.”
Sam came over, held Lewis’ hand, and he felt a pulse of energy flow through him. He felt stronger, and the pain that had resided in his cancer-ridden body seemed to disappear. She took her other hand and patted the top of the hand she held, and then she spoke softly. “I know, dear. I’m sorry, but it’s time. Sarah’s daughter has a low-grade fever. She won’t be able to come back until after we’ve left. You’re about to get a phone call. Tell her goodbye while you have the chance.”
The phone rang next to Lewis’ bed. He reached over with his free hand and picked up the receiver effortlessly. In many ways, he felt better than at any other time in his entire life. Sarah’s voice sounded stressed on the other end. “Daddy, I am so sorry, I can’t come back now, Anna has a fever.”
Lewis glanced up at Sam. She was nodding her head knowingly. Lewis answered Sarah, “It’s alright dear. I’m doing fine. I just want you to know that no matter what happens I love you. If I’m here when you get back, I have a big hug waiting for you. If I’m gone, you’ll have a hug waiting for you in heaven.”
He could hear Sarah sniffing. Lewis did not want to upset his daughter, but he did not dare give her false hope. Lewis continued, “Don’t cry, honey. You know this has been a long battle, and I’m about to win. I would rather be in the arms of Jesus than spend another two years building up hospital bills and living in pain. Please don’t cry.”
On the other end, he could hear Sarah sniff and try to get herself together. “Okay, Dad. Besides, you’ll get to see mom soon, and I know she misses you.”
Lewis smiled, the memory of Autumn had almost slipped his mind after ten years alone with just he and his daughter’s family. They had been so focused on keeping him around he had allowed himself to forget who was waiting for him to move on. Lewis smiled and responded, “That’s right, honey, and you know how your mom hates to be kept waiting.”
They both laughed. From beside Lewis’ hospital bed, Sam said, “You need to hang up now.”
Lewis’ voice got low, “I need to go now, sweetheart. I love you.”
Sarah voice turned horse when she answered, “I love you too, Daddy.”
Lewis hung up the phone. The light in the room became brighter. From the doorway stepped the figure of the person he loved more than himself. Autumn stood there with her auburn hair and bright blue eyes as beautiful as ever, but she had changed. She was no longer the woman he remembered. Her body was new, better. Sam smiled and said, “Well come on Lewis, Autumn is waiting at the door, let’s go.”
Lewis stood and his legs felt strong. He looked down and did not recognize himself. In place of his hospital gown was a white robe. He looked and felt more masculine, and yet he was no longer a man. He was something more, someone more. He prepared to walk towards Autumn and looked over his shoulder. His old broken body laid there. Lewis smiled and turned his head back towards Autumn and Sam. In between the two of them stood a bloodied lamb. Lewis knew who He was and bowed his head.
The lamb turned, walked out of the room and Lewis followed. He stopped at the doorway, and Autumn took his arm. In a flash of white light, they left the hospital room behind. Moments later, nurses and doctors came charging in. They worked desperately to revive the hollow corpse that once housed Lewis’ soul, but it was to no avail. He had already gone home.
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