Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
Author’s Note: This is based on a song by Sakamoto Ryuichi, specifically from the track Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. I have not watched the movie that features this song, but I will do so in the future.
It was a cold winter night. The lights in Mr. Lawrence’s room flickered, the candle getting smaller in the growing cold winter night.
“Mr. Lawrence, your candle light is going out. Shall I replace it for you?” I asked him, a fresh new candle in my hands.
“Ah, Joseph… I had not noticed that my candle was almost out. I was so absorbed by the snow that was falling outside my window that I had not noticed what was happening around me.” Mr. Lawrence said, his face looking ever so weak.
“If you will excuse me then…” I took the candle stand and blew out the candle. I immediately replaced the old candle with a new candle, for the darkness that was settling started to make me feel uncomfortable. As the room was filled with light, I saw Mr. Lawrence smiling at me, as if wanting to tell me something.
“Joseph, you are a big help around here.” He told me in a weak voice, “If you were not around, I don’t know what I would do without you.”
“This is what I am told to do, and I will do it. It is nothing for me.” I answered, fixing his sheets. “It is almost time for your medicine. Please excuse me.”
“Ah, medicines again. Can you add sugar to make it taste a little better?”
I chuckled, “No, I’m afraid that’s not possible.”
Mr. Lawrence never allowed any woman to enter his room, after his wife had died in a horrible accident. The maid servants we’re only allowed outside his room and let me handle all the work that involved Mr. Lawrence alone.
“Oh, Joseph! How is Mr. Lawrence doing?” asked the female cook, smoking a cigarette in the dining area, “Is he feeling better?”
“He’s alright. It’s time for his medicines though. He was asking if he could have sugar with it.”
“That Mr. Lawrence,” the cook inhaled her cigarette and let out a big puff of smoke, “He should get over his grief. If he were to stay like that forever, he won’t have long to live.”
I narrow my eyes a little, while grinding medicine, “Not that he has much long to live though…”
“Ah, yes. He doesn’t have much longer eh? He has no wife, no children, just himself, locked up in that room, waiting to die.”
“What will happen to us though?”
“Who knows? His house will probably be given back to the Queen. She was very fond of Mr. Lawrence, you know. I have met her a few times here. The Queen and Mr. Lawrence’s late wife were very close friends.”
I continue grinding the medicines needed, while the cook goes on about the good times that Mr. Lawrence had. I had somehow known Mr. Lawrence won’t have much longer to live. I didn’t want to think about it.
As soon as I had finished grinding the medicines, I make my way back to Mr. Lawrence’s room; a few packs of his medicines and a tray of water in one hand. I open the door, and Mr. Lawrence’s back is what greets me.
Day in, day out, he continues to look out the window.
I stood in the rain, watching much older men bring down a coffin to where it shall be buried. The Queen who had snuck out of the castle, sobbing beside Mr. Lawrence. Mr. Lawrence looked like his whole world had broken into a million pieces, his once young face suddenly growing old in a few days.
“Our dearly beloved, Anneliese, who has departed from this world—”
The sounds are drowned out. The Queen continues to sob, Mr. Lawrence, holding the Queen’s hand. Both of them are trembling.
Both of them, alone.
No answer. I open his door and look inside. Mr. Lawrence is lying down on his bed, his hands over his chest.
“Mr. Lawrence, are you awake?”
Still, no answer. I go up to him and look at his face.
It looked peaceful.
I touch his hand. Ice cold. He’s dead. I hold back tears.
“Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.”