My eyes were resting still like a lion in waiting of a fleeing stag, at ease yet ready to move in a flash at the sound of an impending shadow. At this point my hands had already turned grey, the veins more prominent and the gentle buzz of the hospital monitor leading its wires back to my index finger. The ward was quiet in the darkness, a light emerging from the nurses’ station and flooding the edges of my confinement.
‘He’s getting worse’, they had said when I first arrived. In the beginning, I had been in refusal to accept such a thing yet as the week had worn on, I was slowly accepting to the fact that it would not be like it had been before.
As my eyes became heavier, my latest dose of medicine taking effect, I heard a shuffling outside my door and lightest of knocks, the sounds of hesitance and regret urging myself to call them in. The opening of my door introduced a splashing of light before it was quickly closed, a young boy creeping in to take a seat by my bedside, his hand much like mine in the sense of colour, his eyes drained and purposeless.
“My name’s Michael, Michael Worthing. I’ve seen you on the telly.’ Despite his obvious lack of strength and disintegrating voice, the boy still sounded cheerful, his cheeky grin peeking out from the confines of his hollowing cheeks and pale features. “I was always rooting for you and Lily.”
I smiled at the memory. It was rare that I heard such a comment and even after a five year absence of the character which had led me into the hearts of the younger generation, I could not help but send myself back into that very universe.
“That wretched James never deserved her.”
Michael let slip another smile, his body relaxing more into the conversation. He told about his own reasons for his stay, the cancer which had slowly spread its way into his body, from the tip of his toes to the top of his brain. Survival was out of the question. I learned he had a mother, a father and a sister at home, and how their nurturing nature, although gratefully received, was sometimes overbearing. I learned he was an Arsenal fan and that he watched his sister dance after the games.
“You see, Snape was always my favourite. He was caring without being obvious, never letting his true feelings show as a way of protecting himself from the hurt he’d experienced with Lily. When she died, he had no purpose. Except looking after Harry. But he couldn’t love anyone like he had done Lily. He’d loved Lily and he’d lost her. Then he truly lost her for good.”
“Lily was all he loved,” I agreed.
“Michael Worthing, I have been looking for you everywhere. Mr Rickman needs his rest and so do you. Don’t let me find you out of your bed again.”
Michael shot me a cheeky grin and slipped out the room. It was the last I saw of him.
The nurse told me as I prepared to leave that he had died the previous night, peacefully in his sleep. He had been everything a child should have been, everything except ill. I was okay with my fate. My fate was to come three days after I returned home. With my wife by my side and within the comfort of my own home. He had wanted a goodbye, a memory with his childhood. And I was pleasured to give it to him. Always.