The headache throbbed, preventing me from thinking about anything besides the pain. A sudden, searing pain behind my left eye caused me to slam my hand to my eye and sharply inhale with the shock.
“It’s a headache!” I tried to say but my words slurred so badly, that they were indecipherable. I remember thinking, “What the hell is wrong with me?” before collapsing on the ground. Above me stood the kid and a couple of other passers by. They all leaned over me, whispering between themselves, asking if I was okay. I wanted to scream, “Do I look okay?” But by this time all I could manage was dribble.
“Someone call an ambulance!”
Later, I woke in the hospital. I knew it was a hospital because I could hear those tell tale beeps of monitoring equipment and smell that awful, hospital smell. I tried to open my eyes but my lids were too heavy. I tried to lift an arm, a hand but I couldn’t. I guessed the drugs were not worn off enough to allow me to move yet.
“Are you sure there’s nothing?” I heard my wife ask, and could hear the pain in her voice. I tried again to move, to reach out and comfort her, comfort me, but I still couldn’t move.
“I’m sorry,” another voice said, the doctor perhaps? “That was the final test. There’s nothing.”
I listened intently, wanting to know why my wife was so upset. Had it been a stroke? Had I lost brain cells? What would I do if I woke up to a lop-sided face and a permanent drunken slur? What would my life be like? What if it was more serious? What if I had suffered some paralysis?
“… now then.”
I had stopped listening, panicking about my condition and missed what was being said. I berated myself for being so stupid.
“I love you, Mike. I’ll always love you.”
“I love you too.” I thought to her. “It’s okay, well face this together. We’ll be okay. You’ll see.”
I desperately wanted to comfort my wife. She sounded distraught and my arms itches to hold her but the damned drugs still wouldn’t release me.
“Goodbye my love,” she said, obviously leaving for the day. “Goodbye. I’m so sorry. I’d only I had been there. I don’t want you to leave me.” She was crying now and I could feel her head and shaking shoulders on my chest.
“It’s alright, baby,” I thought to her. “You can stay a little longer, they won’t mind if…wait…what? Why me? Why would I be going? Where am I going? What’s going on?”
She continued to cry but abruptly I felt her move away and heard her whisper, “All right. You can do it now.”
“Do what? What?”
I was panicked now? I had no idea what was going on but I was starting to feel fear. I began to feel breathless and somehow, I vaguely noticed the incessant beeping had stopped. My breathing grew more laboured and shallow and in the distance I could hear my wife’s crying. I thought I felt her hand on my had but such a feather light touch that I want sure if I had imagined it. The hospital sounds and smells grew dim and I had a sense of sinking, slowly into an abyss. It was dark and cold and I felt far from home, far from the live off my life. And then it finally dawned on me. I was dying. She had let them turn off the…