In life, he was a fizzing firework of a man, exploding with anger and good humour in the same moment, showering sparkles and emitting sparks in equal measure.
That isn’t the man in front of me, a reedy desiccated version of corrupted flesh.
Not long they tell me and I tell them I’ll stay. Awake I watch for signs, flickering glimpses of light, of a fire within but the matches are damp. Maybe that’s my fault: when I woke just now, my head on the blanket next to him, my drool had soaked into the fibres.
Speech, if you can call it that, bubbles through mucus, hissing memories and popping with inarticulate fears.
Kind yet seemingly indifferent hands squeeze and primp, tap and remould this nearly human, prompting groans and one beautiful grimace, so full of life you could also imagine the curse that no longer has the energy to surface.
How long have I counted the small crestings of his chest as one more breath circulates and leaves? A day, a life?
He hasn’t the choice but to go gentle into that good night. Death, when it comes is a single breath unbreathed.
It’s peaceful and pain free.
This is for Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations