A young girl watches helplessly as the life of the person she held most dear slips away.
|She stared into the room, transfixed. Her eyes never wavered from their constant stare. Hazel eyes, ones that could normally light a room with their vibrancy, were bloodshot and tear-stained. In the back of her mind, she recognized the urge to blink, but she could not heed it. Her mind was numb. Her body was numb. Everything... so numb.
A litany of how unfair life could be repeated like a broken record, scouring the deepest recess of her body until they reached her heart. It was there that the words burned, that her body felt. It was the only place that hadn't gone numb. She could feel her heart racing, faster than it normally should. She raised her hands to cover it through her chest as if she could stop the rapid crescendo. It was futile. The whole situation, everything, was futile.
She watched as the figures on the other side of the glass moved about the room. She knew why they were there, what their purpose was. She told herself constantly that they weren’t the enemy; they were just doing their jobs. Not every person in a white coat is inherently bad. They had a job to do, and they did it to the best of their ability. Some had better training, and that made all of the difference in situations such as these. These doctors weren’t the enemy; they were just finishing the job.
While those people were the forefront of the scene, blurs of white and blue she’d have forgotten by sundown, they were nothing but background noise to the girl. It was the woman in the bed, laying helplessly, that held her attention. The woman was awake, but her eyes stared unseeingly at the ceiling. They didn’t blink; they didn’t move. They had no life, which led the girl to believe that the person on that bed had already passed. The monitors around the room told a different story.
Tubes and breathing apparatuses could support life for only so long. Time and finances being the obvious restrictors, but also hope. Hope cannot change the inevitable outcome no matter how prettily or how often one prays to the one most call God. It doesn’t lessen heartache, but it can numb the initial blow. The girl placed a hand against the cold glass. She’d given up her hope days ago.
The woman had fought so hard, so long. She had done everything she was told, made the sacrifices she didn’t want to make. The test results had said that everything looked fine, and that her heart would be able to withstand the anesthetic. Someone somewhere down the line hadn’t received the proper training, it seemed, because she wasn’t fine. She was gone. This was the result of their confidence.
“Mother,” the girl whispered, her breath forming a cloud against the glass.
One of the older doctors, a man the girl had presumed to be in charge, made a move towards the tube hanging out of the woman’s mouth. It was her life source, the only thing separating her from life and death--legally. It was what kept the coroner from signing the death certificate, making this travesty official and real. Far too real. It was too soon. She wasn’t ready to let go.
He pulled on the tube, slowly dragging it out until the end could be seen. The sound of the heart monitor, quiet though it was from the opposite side of the glass, echoed in her ears. The blood pounding in her ears couldn’t even mask its escalating sound. It mirrored the racing of the girl’s heart as she watched the woman’s skin begin to slip to an unearthly pallor. The girl’s heart broke.
She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t watch the life slip from the woman who had meant more to her than anyone else. She couldn’t watch as the woman gave up the fight so solemnly, without even a chance. How unfair life could be returned to her mind, staying with her.
Biting back a sob, she turned from the glass and ran down the hall. Even as she ran, the beeping of ECG followed her. As the heart beats got closer together, so did her footsteps. She kept running despite her belabored breathing. Faster and faster, her feet carried her until she came to the ICU doors, blocking her exit. She reached for the button to alert the nurse desk she wished to leave, but she stopped. The heart monitor had stopped.
Tears gathered along her bottom eyelid, obscuring her vision. Even so, she glanced in the direction from which she’d come. She could see silhouettes of figures, some moving away from her and some coming closer. She knew who they were, recognized them without seeing them. She didn’t want to interact with anyone; she wanted to be alone. Someone shouted her name, but she ignored them. She pushed the button instead, desperately needing her escape.
Everything was so unfair.