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Lifesupport
Nathan Davies


I woke up and it was all a dream. The realisation would have been enough to make me weep, if I only could. It was so beautiful; she was so beautiful, and I... I had taken Helen for a walk. It was a warm and sunny day, and there was a cool breeze that was just strong enough to catch her hair. It was perfect.
We took the dog and struck out across the fields towards the coast, hand in hand. At first we didn't talk, but the silence was not oppressive. I felt that I could have spoken had I wished it, but even after all this time there was no compulsion to hear my words aloud, even in a dream. Instead of words we traded smiles and those sleepy half-expressions of contentment that I used to find so nauseating, but then I suppose that's because I'd never had the feelings that go along with them before. It saddens me to think that when I could, I never actually did love. We took it in turns to toss sticks for Chuck, who would run all over the place before deciding to bring them back, just like I remember him doing before I got put in here. Mother says Lizzie's got him now, but I know better, she's not exactly a dog person; they must have put him down. Chuck would have liked Helen, and she certainly loved him, putting all her strength into her throws. At one point I thought we'd lost the fella in the long grass off to the side, but he came bounding back, stick and all, just in time to ruin the moment; I'd turned her towards me and was well, going to ask her if I could, y'know, and then there he was. She grinned, picked up the stick , threw it, and kissed me square on the lips. My already red face reddened, but her eyes assured me that this was no school yard game. She loved me and I was happy.
We passed on to the beach, and while we walked at the waters edge I told her all the things that I had longed to; how she is the one person in my small world who makes me feel alive, how I'm so ashamed that she has to... look after me, how I've loved her these past seven months or so, how I've tried so hard to get better, just for her, and how I was so afraid that if I did recover I would lose her. But my fears were unfounded. She kissed me again and there in the shallows, outlined by the setting sun, told me that now I was well, she would never leave me. But it was just a dream and as a wave bowled us over I awoke, once again a prisoner of my own body.

I must have been out for hours. The last thing I remember from before is Helen shaving me, and from the amount of light coming in at the window that couldn't have been any later than mid-day. Now, the light has passed my little patch of ceiling, so it's got to be at least five o'clock. I hope it's later, I really can't face mother anymore. Those dead eyes looking through me. She probably won't even say anything, it's not as if she thinks I'm alive in here. They're all steadily giving up hope; Mother, Lizzie, Ben. The only reason the doctors think any different is because I can occasionally blink without stimulus, and the longer this lasts, the less they want to believe in me. If I could only raise an arm, or even a finger, or speak. No good. I'll have to try something smaller. Perhaps I could do something with my nose, at least I know I have some feeling in that.

Wait... who's that coming in? Helen?

"I'm sorry Ms. Carter but the decision has been made."

Mother? What decision?

"But you can't do this! You have to believe that your son is still in there!"

"And what if he is? I know you do your best to look after him, but his body is wasting away. Do you really think that he would thank us were he to miraculously wake up?"

"I think that he is a..."

"It is simply too hard for the rest of us! The man in that bed is my son, I want him to recover more than anyone else, but I will not put the rest of my family through the wringer any longer. I have two other children Ms. Carter, we have to let them get on with their lives."

"I don't see h..."

"Ms. Carter, I know you care for Mr. Elliot, and that you believe in him making some form of recovery, but considering the odds, and the wishes of his family, we've decided to let him go."

"You mean, you're going to kill him."

What? No! Come on nose, work with me, or we're dead!

"He may already be dead. Please, step aside."

"No."

"Ms. Carter, step aside or I wil have you removed."

Helen?

"I'm... I'm sorry it had to end like this. I'd have liked to have known you better. Here's one... for the road..."

She kissed me. Helen kissed me. C'mon nose! No. No! Helen! Mother! Don't let them do this! I'm here, I'm... Oh. Oh my. I'm so sorry. I love you Helen. I...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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