Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The golden afternoon sun streams gently in, sitting gracefully on his shoulders-hunched in concentration. His head bent, vision filled with black and white. Slender fingers glide smoothly over the keys. He plays a melody he should be too young to understand. The sound fills the space, wraps around the battered legs of the bench that holds him. It lingers in front of faded photographs, floats by deserted toys. It is a beautiful kind of lonely. Dangerous and soft. The air is still. There is only him.
Blue veins through the paper-thin, transparent skin of the wrinkled hand I am holding. Angry looking purple-black bruises cover his arm, mixing in with the deep brown age spots. His labored breathing is all that I know. It fills my senses. In. Out. In. Out. The low hum of the equipment surrounding him droning on in the distance. He had been asking about the future, was it just two days ago? Now he can’t speak, move, breathe on his own. His eyes are vacant, like he is gone already. They stare at the tiled ceiling, glassy and bloodshot. Being here, with him, watching, waiting—is a jackhammer pounding on my chest. Like vinegar poured into my churning stomach. My nose tingles, vision blurs. I need to get out. I can’t…if I leave...but this isn’t alive. He isn’t even in the body lying next to me. The heavy breathing, the cold hands. He’s already gone. There’s already a vacant space in the center of my heart where he belongs. The quiet mornings with waffles and warmth, never to be again. Forget-Me-Nots strewn around the kitchen. A knock. Someone new to keep watch. Relief. Panic. My last chance. A kiss on his slackened, weathered cheek. “I love you.” He squeezes my hand.