“It’s so beautiful,” Harmony gazed out at the park in front of the hospital. “I almost don’t believe it.” She sat on a stone-carved bench next to her husband, John. Their bench rested atop a hill overlooking a lush green park. Dozens of people dotted the winding trails while several children ran through the tall, green grass instead of staying on the path. A bright golden sun hung in the sky; its light warmed the gentle breeze Harmony felt on her skin.
“You haven’t even left the hospital grounds yet,” John chuckled. “There’s so much more to see.” He took her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. “And you never have to come back.”
“That’s almost the hardest thing to believe,” Harmony sighed and squeezed her husband’s hand in return. “Leaving the hospital always felt like a like a vacation, you know? Like, that was where I was supposed to be, but I got permission to leave every now and then. I don’t feel that this time,” she said. Harmony released her husband’s hand and lifted her own hand up to inspect it as if searching for something. “I feel free,” she said, then dropped her hand. She faced John. “I feel free for the first time.”
“You are free! We can leave any time, go anywhere. There’s so much I’m anxious to show you. Why are we still here?” John asked. Up until that point, the couple spent a week longer at the hospital than they needed to. Harmony spent a week longer at the hospital than she needed to.
“Leaving always felt like a vacation from work. This feels like retirement,” she shrugged. “I’m saying good-bye in my own way.” Harmony stroked John’s cheek and gave him a weak smile. “I’m almost done, then I want to see everything.” John nodded.
“Okay. We have plenty of time for everything.”
“So what’s in it for her?” Harmony asked suddenly.
“Who?” John asked. The subject change left him confused. He did not have the slightest idea who Harmony referred to.
“The woman that saved my life,” she replied.
“Melody? Why does there need to be anything in it for her?”
“A mystery woman shows up at the hospital to help me,” Harmony patted her chest with her hand. “Only me. Mere hours after I collapsed at home. Now we’re here,” she gestured at the park. “This beautiful, perfect place. We can go anywhere we want, and do anything we want,” Harmony shook her head. “There has to be something in it for her.”
“What does it matter? Why can’t she just be a nice person?” John asked. Harmony shook her head.
“Because I’m not.”
“What?” John chuckled but nodded. “Yeah, I guess sometimes you’re not,” he was careful with his words. “But that’s just coloring your perception of her.” Harmony’s eyes went wide with surprise.
“You don’t know who she is?”
” ‘The woman that saved my wife’s life’ is good enough for me,” John said.
“John,” Harmony said in a stern tone. “Everything I’ve learned since I woke up, everything you explained about how she helped… you haven’t figured it out yet?”
“Harm,” John gave her a confused look. “What are you talking about, babe?”
“Melody looks enough like me to be a cousin or something,” Harmony said. John nodded, he’d noticed the resemblance too. “She came from an alternate universe to help me. There’s only one way any of that makes sense. She is me.“