When Susan Died

Martin is in the room right now. I can hear him crying through the door. Before Martin there was Steven, Michael and Mary Anne, and none of them could hold back the tears. It’s my turn next and I feel like running away, but that would only make me more miserable. When he comes out, i’ll raise my gaze, and our eyes will meet for a second. Then he’ll turn away so that I can’t notice the tear tracks running down his cheeks or the red in his eyes, but he’ll know i noticed. He’ll sit between Mike and Mary, and save the seat I will occupy once I come out of the room. I’ll walk to the door, and stare at the doorknob. It will feel cold and foreign, like it was made of ice. Once I walk in, I’ll realize that the person in that bed is not the Susan I knew. Susan used to be much more beautiful and lively. Then I’ll see the smile; that beautiful, unforgettable smile, and I’ll know I’m looking at Susan for the last time. She’ll tell me to sit down, and I will. Then she’ll explain that the only thing keeping her alive are the machines running around her, their subtle humming the only sound other than her voice. She’ll say that she’s saying goodbye to everyone, and that it’s a blessing that she can do so. She’ll ask if I remember how we first met, and then I’ll start crying. When someone asks you the time in a bus stop, you hardly ever stop and think that one day, that person will not exist anymore. I’ll press my head against her chest, and she’ll hold me for a while. Then she’ll sing that song we wrote together all those years ago, and I’ll cry harder. She’ll tell me it’s all going to be alright. She’ll tell me she’s not even in pain anymore. I’ll tell her I can’t lose her, not after everything that’s happened. She’ll say it’s a normal part of life, the ending. I’ll tell her that I love her. I’ll tell her that I love her so damn much, and then she’ll start crying. In that moment, we’ll both know that for the next five seconds, things are definitely not going to be alright. She’ll call the doctor, and say that she’s finished. The doctor will come in, and I’ll hold Susan’s hand, and she’ll hold mine. I’ll kiss her, and say I love her one last time. She’ll smile and say that she loves me, and then she’ll die. I won’t realize this until half an hour later when her hand gets a little bit colder. Ten years from now, I’ll still remember what i said in that bus stop. “I don’t have a watch, but I think you’re beautiful. Would you like to have some coffee with me?”

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