Thursday, November 05, 2009
Bookends of a Life: II
Only the steady thump-thump of the hissing machine, valves pressing and depressing against your will, remind me you are here. Like you, I dress in white; like you, many patients call me angel and I guess I am, administering to their wounds and sighs and bedpans and now, ministering to you, embellishing the chart with your vitals, watching you waste to a shrunken, wheezing vessel. The clacking ventilator reminds me of the ice cubes rattling in your highball the nights I nagged you to stop, your hands jittering between the glass and the cigarette, but your yellowed fingers stabbed and twisted the butt into ashes, proving you did not love me - enough. You moan and turn your withered face to the weak gasp of winter sun bullying its way through the window. It’s only a matter of time, I rationalize, and fiddle with the tubing, adjusting the flow. The morphine races down to the catheter in your wrist and I wonder: Mama, did I love you enough?
Originally published in 6S: Volume 2, 2009.