A Special Type of Catastrophe
The rain pours down in waves of razor sharp drops. Biting into his skin in ways even his lover would be jealous of. He sinks into himself afraid to move. Afraid to breathe.
This is the hardest part, that much is clear. Though, when has saying goodbye ever been easy?
The sun has not shone in weeks and although the weather could be a clue, he still cannot grasp the concept of the grief. Losing someone is indeed hard and the human mind can only absorb so much pain before it just s h a t t e r s.
He walks into the house that has become his least favorite place. This is when time seems to stand still, when the hands on the clock freeze and the universe punishes him for everything he had ever done wrong. It’s quiet here just like every other day. His mother no longer has a need for poor conversation and weak laughter. She no longer has a want for the oxygen tanks lining the halls readying for their turn.
The water drips off of his clothing landing on the marble tiles that hold all of his memories. All of the joy from the childhood that he will never get back. Climbing the steps one by one he prepares himself to face the inevitable. “Mother.” He whispers into the frosty air. He didn’t really expect a response but hope is a dangerous thing that he has not yet lost. The beeping of the machines is now in earshot and his lungs burn with the scent of bleach.
This is the worst part, walking into that room unsure of how much worse she will be than she was the day before. He opens the door forcing himself to swallow the lump in his throat. “Mother, I brought you some lilacs. I know they’re your favorite.”
No response, no change in the beeping of her pulse monitor, no shift, no twitch of her fingers. She is indeed lifeless. The oxygen in her lungs is wasting it’s time, yet how ironic it is, that the oxygen in her lungs isn’t her own.
Sighing Kai walks forward looking over her skin almost out of habit. The virus is deadly in the least but agony has made itself no stranger to the victims. That’s what in the end shall lead them to their downfall. They cannot touch their skin with another, there is no contact, no body heat, no comfort from the inevitable.
The little pitter patter of her IV startles him out of his thoughts and he runs his hand through his hair. It’s always that same hand, through his hair. Always the nervous bite of his lip as he awaits the nurse of the day. Awaits for her to tell him how the countdown of his mothers life has changed. It’s never consistent, they say.
They can never be exact, they say. Yet; he still wants to know their number. The number of days until the countless oxygen tanks will no longer be enough, until the morphine will stop numbing her and she will die painfully, and worse; slowly. The small eerie beep of the front door being opened pings in the monitor on his mothers nightstand and someone begins their climb up the stairs.
Kais’ breath catches in his throat at the sight of Elsie. One of the 5 he selected to care for his mother. Older than himself but still, so perfect. So graceful in the way that she moves, that she does anything. Her long blonde hair is tied up in a messy bun atop her head and her cheeks are pink from the cold of the house. She looks around the room until she spots Kai now hovering in the corner. “Good morning love.”
She smiles as she speaks. That’s the thing about her that makes her different from everyone else. No matter how much death she surrounds herself with each day she’s still so damn happy. If it were anyone else he would say it was a show, a part of what she learned in training, but; that cannot be the case when her smile does in fact reach her soft grey eyes.
Elsie goes through the routine she learned when being assigned to virus victims. She cleans the pan, reapplies the latex over his mothers fingertips, and goes through the steps of checking vitals and listening to her heart. “Well Kai today is a simple one as it’s the middle of the week, I estimate about 30 days. Which is good since last week I thought no more than a week.” She blushes as he steps forward and plays with the lining in her scrubs. “Thank you for coming Elsie. I have things to handle with work if you don’t mind being left alone?” She answers much too quickly for his liking and shakes her head. She says she can take things from her, says Joanna is her favorite patient. Of course he responds.
There never has been something about her to dislike even when she was an irresponsible drug addict.
He glances at his mothers fragile figure and at the flowers everywhere he left them before leaving. I’ll be back tomorrow and maybe something will have changed. He thinks. His thoughts are deceitful and the hope he has, is dwindling into nothingness.
His father gave up hope long ago that his mother even had a chance to recover from the virus. Everyone else did, everyone else went on with their daily lives almost as if they had never been sick at all. But with her things are different, she gets worse not better.
The nurses that tend to her needs might say that there has been a drastic improvement that “She’s seemingly far better than last week.” She’s not. She never will be. They just don’t have the equipment to know the right time to be prepared for the end. It doesn’t take a Harvard degree to piece that bit together.
Yet even if they did have the equipment. Even if they could look Kai in the eyes and tell him the exact time his mother took her final breath down to seconds; it wouldn’t change anything. Because you see, death is coming for every one of us, no matter what we try to do to stop it or how we try to prepare ourselves. It just doesn’t seem to be that simple.
Author Word Count : 1,085
Inkitt Word Count : 1,099