I swallowed hard. “Do you think you can make it up those stairs?”
There was a long pause and then, “No.”
I felt my heart sink.
I wasn’t super strong.
As in, there was no way I was getting Faye up those stairs on my own.
“I need to call someone for help,” I told her softly. “I won’t be able to do it on my own.”
She mumbled something I couldn’t quite hear, and that’s when I knew that this was going to be worse than I thought.
Like, so much worse.
I started looking around, knowing what I would find.
It was the peak season. There should be people everywhere, but the hurricane had scared off most renters this week. They were suggesting evacuation, but Faye wanted to see the beach and I was determined to make it happen.
Looking around, I saw no one. There literally wasn’t anyone dumb enough to be there at that moment in time.
Yet, there I was.
I spotted a beach chair leaning against the bottom of the house, along with some sand toys, as well as fishing poles.
“I can get you to a beach chair underneath the house,” I said confidently. “Stay right here. I’ll go get it set up.”
She had no choice.
She practically lay along the stairs, her head resting on the one I’d nearly hit my face on, and lifted two fingers.
She didn’t say a word, though, which scared me even more.
Swallowing past the lump that seemed permanently lodged in my throat, I hurried down the length of the walkway that headed around the house.
There, I spotted more chairs, which included a long lounge chair—one of those zero-gravity chairs—that I knew would work well for Faye.
Getting it set up so that she could see the beach from where I stuck her—where she probably wouldn’t be moving for a while until I could find someone to help me get her up the stairs—I ran back for Faye.
I found her in the same spot, unmoving, staring at the beach through the risers of the stairs.
I had to admit, the place I chose had a beautiful view.
“Ready?” I asked carefully.
Her eyes, dull and lifeless, moved to me.
“I want to feel the sand between my toes,” she whispered.
I felt the tears start to come then. “I’ll get you out there, boo.”
Faye, at hearing my term of endearment for her, smiled.
“Thanks, boo.” She coughed.
I struggled to get her down the length of the house and into the chair that was covered by the floor above. Once she was where I thought best for her, I grabbed a bucket from the kids’ play toys that were lined along the house and walked out to the beach and filled it with sand.
I’d been to the beach before.
It’d always been my favorite place to come.
And knowing that Faye had never been broke my heart.
It broke it even more that she was here and couldn’t enjoy it.
Gathering my bucket of sand, I headed back toward the house, sweating my balls off the entire way.
I did see one lone figure off in the distance while I was out there, though.
Once I had my girl’s toes in the sand, I would be walking down there and seeing if the man was physically fit enough to help me get Faye inside.
Once I had the bucket where I needed it, I twisted both of Faye’s cute little feet off the side of the chair, and then sank them into the sand, covering them up well.
“What do you think?” I asked her.
There was a small smile on her face, but she didn’t open her eyes.
“The best,” she whispered.
I swallowed hard. “Do you think I should contact the hospice here now? Your doctor and my dad seemed to think that it would be best to do it ASAP.”
“I can hear the ocean,” she whispered, ignoring my question. “It sounds spectacular.”
The waves were roaring today.
There was a rather large disturbance in the gulf that was well on its way to becoming a hurricane. I wasn’t sure when it was going to start becoming typical hurricane weather, but I was bringing Faye to the beach regardless.
They expected it to hit tomorrow. But ahead of it was a lot of wind and a lot of rain.
Which sucked for Faye because that meant that she’d be stuck inside unless she wanted to get wet.
Which I didn’t think was such a good idea.
“I don’t want to call them,” she whispered. “I just want to die, right here, without being poked or prodded.”
The damn tears started again.
“Pull up a chair.” She paused. “Or better yet, pull me out there.”
She opened her eyes for that comment, letting me know with a single look that she was serious.
I groaned. “You know I’m a wimp. How am I supposed to get you out there on my own?”
She just smiled, the smile nowhere near reaching her eyes.
“I don’t want you to go,” I whispered, thinking she couldn’t hear.
But she did. “I don’t want to leave you but… I want to go.”