Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Darkness Falls

The world grew dimmer, light extinguishing in the periphery, darkness rapidly closing around him. He could barely hear the fighting, muted, hushed, though moments ago it seemed cacophonous. Everything dulled except the pain, the one thing he wished would diminish as his body grew numb and cold. He struggled to keep his eyes open, never wanting to tear his gaze away from his sobbing wife, but his body was no longer obeying him as it systematically shut down. He struggled to get in a breath and held it as if that would somehow buy him precious seconds, furtively grasping for a life he didn’t want to leave behind. Besides the pain, all that registered in his fading consciousness was dampness against his skin where her tears fell. He panicked as his body chided his feeble attempts to override the inevitable. He was a doctor. He’d worked among life and death his whole career. It was simple biology; the body understood what it had the ability to heal and what it did not. The body had no qualms about the outcome, it was the spirit caught in the struggle. All he could think was he was too young, it was too soon. He wanted to be an old man, live happily with his wife, see his children blossom into adults with families of their own. He wanted to die peacefully in his sleep, but knew that was never in the cards. He'd never glance in the mirror and see a winkled, silver haired figure staring back. He'd never walk his daughters down the aisle on their wedding day, never play in the park with his grandchildren, never again awake in bed to feel his wife in his arms. He was dying and there was no turning back. A last, rattling gasp broke from his chest as the breath he was holding onto so valiantly escaped him. He thought it would be more gradual, but the world around him disappeared as if someone flicked off a television set. He couldn’t feel anything, not the pain, not himself, nothing as darkness consumed him.