He stared at the bed, unblinking, with sweaty palms. The sound of the machines were waning. His heart beating rapidly. Hers seemed to be slowing, steady, her breathing easing. He paced back and forth next to her bed. watching the muscles in her face relax. She was gone two days ago. “Hospice,” whispered the doctors. She wasn’t going to make it out of this hospital. He turned and did something he had not done since he was six years old.
He took his father’s hand. They clung to each other, steady. Their clammy palms interlocking. All of the things left unsaid, and now it seems forgotten. Her eyes flutter, not really opening, but as if she is dreaming off into the other world. His body tensed, and he squeezed his father’s hand. Reminiscent of the doctor’s office, a large, sharp needle heading into his shoulder. He held his dad’s hand so tight, if it hadn’t been his tiny, six year old hand, he might have broken it with that grip.
But, now he was seventeen. Old enough to do some damage. Yet, he squeezed it gingerly. He did not want to hurt his father more. They watched on the monitor, the lines became smaller. Yet, his heartline seemed to become increasing larger, when did breathing become so difficult? When did it matter so much? All of a sudden it took so much concentration. Then, in one large exhale, he had control again, and her line was flat. They looked at her. Her chest was no longer moving.
Dropping his father’s hand, he turned and left. How could he watch her leave, no longer exist? He ran down the hall, out the double doors, he ran until he saw the exit sign. He burst into the courtyard. His whole body shaking, doubled over, breathing in the fresh air. He still could.
“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend. But, I always thought that I’d see you again.” – James Taylor