I suppose that when we go, we all go still owing a debt somewhere, a loan unpaid, a good turn still un-returned, a forgiveness not granted, a wrong never made right. And some would say that we get what we’ve got coming, but we never do. We get what we get. We know who we know, and most of everything that happens along the way is just dumb luck. Tho we never really know anyone; we never really have anything. Possession is an illusion. It all passes, sliding between our fingers like the salty-sand of childhood’s soft-curve coasts, bathed in blue waves’ laughing froth as they come and go.
She’s twenty-three and she’s dying. Her lungs are done, they say, diseased and tired, filled with bile and mucus, and regret. She’s drowning in infection. She’ll never eat or drink through her mouth again. She’s got a tube down her throat to breathe and mittens on her hands so she can’t hurt herself or anyone else when the drugs wear off. She tries though. These things don’t come without anger over the unfairness, seethe over being out of time.
Others might get a lung transplant, the gift of another chance. She’s not a candidate because she smoked cigarettes and did drugs. Who decides these things, who decides who lives and who dies? The doctors told her parents that without a transplant, she’d live on a respirator and be institutionalized for the rest of her life, however long that is, and if she lives at all. They’d pull the tube out of her throat and put a hole on her throat instead.
“I know she wouldn’t want to live that way,” they both said.
Still, life is life, if there is still sentience; if there are still thoughts, even occasional, we are as alive as anyone ever is, and if we’ve nothing but time to know the shadows and light of our own notions, we’re more alive than most.
They’ll do it as she sleeps, dreaming of hope. They’ll pull the plug.
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