I’ve been here for a little over a year now, sharing a room with a dead man.
I am stuck here. I cannot move save to pace back and forth; my eyes avoiding the corner of the room where the dead many lay dying. My shoes scuff across the floor, my hands in my pockets, my gaze ever-shifting. My body does a nervous dance while my mind tries to shut down, my spirit lay dying inside of myself—slowly tracing tracks across my face and spilling onto the floor.
And in the growing hollow left behind I feel something stirring—something dark and bitter and consuming. It is my captor, preying upon me for I am wounded. Bleeding internally, my heart pumping directly into this hollow where my captor resides—hungrily lapping up the spoils of war. Fattening itself, pushing outward until the pressure creates another flood and the hollow expands once again.
Soon I will be empty.
Carrion birds circle, scenting weakness, they find me even in my prison. Pecking and picking at the outside of me as I lay dying internally. They ignore the dead man dying in the corner as, pecked beyond recognition, he lay hallowed and waiting.
Waiting for me to move again.
Without words or music, he sings quietly to me across the room. Vibrations ringing out across the hollows within, shaking my walls and rattling my cage. He will not let me die.
My gaze settles on the shiny linoleum tile, puddled with my tears, and I breath deeply. Taking stock of myself, I feel the bile of my captor rising within me and know this is no way to honor him.
And so I turn my gaze to the corner where soft lamplight illuminates the haggard and emaciated form of someone taken too soon. Overstuffed chairs and empty landscapes mirror the accoutrements of home, an illusion shattered by the hospital bed where his captors stood round with false pity and empty love as they expedited his life.
And then they left, leaving me standing here unable to move. Stuck by his side in guilt, hurt, and anger. Ties that bind me to darkness, breaking as I look at him again and remember.
I remember. His quiet hems and haa’s as he shook out his morning paper. Working with steady hands, building fences and caring for the home he’d worked so hard to provide for the family that destroyed him. I remember a man that always had a smile, carrying it for himself and for others.
Suddenly there is a growing warmth within me, the starting flicker of a flame lit under the beast that has roosted within my hollow spaces. I feel something ugly lift it’s lazy head, fattened and bloated it begins to stir. And as that fire continues to grow it thrashes in panic, engorged by greedily lapping at my heart, it cannot escape. Now I am its captor, and I watch in pity as it is consumed by the fires of my love and passion.
And I walk to the dead man’s bed. I take his hand and sit by his side. I sing him a song from his past and tell him I am sorry, and he is loved. Kissing his forehead, I stand up and leave this room behind, knowing that I will carry him with me forever as the soft vibrations of a song sung quietly and with love.
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