An EndSubmitted by DaBeast at 2008-10-03 17:41:09 EDT
Rating: 1.5 on 10 ratings (10 reviews) (Review this item) (V)
I walked up to the door and took a deep breath as I knocked. "God, give me the strength..." I whispered as the door opened beneath my hand.
A soft zinging noise was my herald. I ducked to the side as a metal bedpan whizzed past my ear and clanged off of the door. I should have known she'd be ready for me; at least it was empty this time.
The lone bed didn't take up much space in a hospital room designed to hold four of them. She hadn't been easy for anyone to live with since she was admitted, though. The other beds as well as their occupants had been moved elsewhere for their own protection long since.
The room was kept dim for she hated light now of any kind. Carefully, I made my way farther into the room as the door whisked shut behind me, "Rosalie? Rosalie, I can tell by the aim and the trajectory of the bedpan that you're awake. Don't play possum with me."
My ears pricked at a familiar sound and I sighed to myself as I went toward the bed. She was propped upon layered pillows and her thin frame shook with the tears that leaked from her sunken azure eyes. I couldn't help studying her and noting the pallor of her skin, the sharper angles of a now too-thin frame. She still had the loveliest eyes I'd ever seen this side of heaven.
"What do you want? More tests? More blood?" Her voice was still soft but the bitter edge of it made it slice deep. I winced.
"No, Rosalie. No more tests. Your son, Jeffrey, came by today. The nurse told me before I came in; why wouldn't you see him?" I eradicated anything except mild curiosity from my voice as I said it; knowing even as I did it that I could never reproach Rosalie for anything. I understood her too well, perhaps.
"He came to assuage his guilt; he came here for the wrong reasons. He didn't come here for me. He came here for him." Bitterness had been replaced with a tired ache, a sound so weary that it made my knees wobble to hear it.
Her head turned away and she looked at the tightly blinded windows where small traces of sunlight leaked into the room. She looked so fragile and so small; a bird with a broken wing that has finally lain down to accept its Fate. That's how she looked to me.
"Why?" Her eyes were wide and bluer than infinity as she studied the sunlight.
I pondered the question before deciding to play dumb; I wanted to hear her say it, "Why what?"
"Why won't you let me die? Unhook the machines, remove the I.V.s - let me go. Please." At her whisper the sunlight faded and took on the bronze glow of beginning sunset.
"Because I'm a doctor, Rosalie. I was trained to heal, not kill. As long as there's hope, as long as there's a chance, you deserve to have the opportunity to grasp it." I walked to within a foot of her bedside and stared down at her, not understanding why it was that after all these years and seeing so many others die before her, that this one woman should be able to move me to tears. I felt so old and brittle as I traced the lines of her face with my eyes.
"Let me die." She turned back toward me and the sunlight brightened into gold, framing her in radiant but shuttered fire as her eyes met mine, "The bonds of this life hold no joy for me. All they are for me are shackles that imprison me in pain and torturous waiting. Let me die."
I shook my head, "No, Rosalie. I can't let you die. I have to at least try to..."
"Try to what? Prolong my pain?" Her voice was a cry, a hurt surrender to a pain that she had withstood longer than I could imagine, "Why won't you let me die? You hold me prisoned in pain and tell me it's for my own good! Let me die!"
I felt the tears building and couldn't stop them; I turned away, "Rosalie, I can't."
I composed myself and turned back to her but she had already subsided against her pillows, head turned to watch the streaks of dying sunlight.
She had fought for years before I came along; her son told tales of her strength in the face of death, her cheery attitude and her adamant avowal that she would fight to the bitter end. She was right about him; he came to see her, laden with guilt that he didn't come to see her more often and with despair because she had finally surrendered to the inevitable. She was wrong, too, for the strongest thing within him when he came to the hospital was love for the woman who had birthed him, who had held him through his many childhood ills and who had loved him best all his life.
She still loved him best; I think that's why she so wanted it over - for it hurt Jeffrey so much to see her like this and be unable to help or ease her pain.
As she fell into a light doze, I studied her. Life was bondage to her, pain and unceasing hurt and a torture that few could understand, let alone envision. She deserved more than the heartbreaking end that loomed somewhere in the future. She deserved more than this.
I calmed my breathing as I took the syringe from my pocket and un-capped the needle.
She deserved her final wish.