It was the shoes. That’s what I remembered: the black leather shoes hidden in the back of my closet. That was my one lasting thought while I watched them wheel your limp body on a gurney to a bare room. I was unable to move, bumping into nurses and doctors surrounding you.
There were wires. All around you, connected to you, to machines, to IV bags. And underneath it all lay your body, looking so small and out of place, tangled in the mess of wires. Blood soaked through your shirt, dripping on the floor, streaming through your wound.
Everything was dulled. The yelling of the doctors, the beeping of the machines, the squeaking of shoes on the linoleum floor. The rancid smell of sanitizer hung heavily in the air. I searched for the source of the echoing thumping I heard. My heart. It was my heart.
Suddenly it all came back into focus. There was a long beep on the monitor, a high pitched never ending beep. “Code blue! Get a crash cart!” “Start compressions.” “Charge to 200. Clear!” “Charge again.” “Patient is going into vfib.” “Clear!” “More compressions.”
Keep beating, I ordered my heart. Beat for both of us, keep us both alive. “Charge to 300.” Beat. Stay alive. For me. “Clear!” The beep continued, ringing endlessly in my ears. Then they stopped. The doctors. Looks of defeat were worn on their faces, painted on, moulded on.
The shoes. The black leather ones in the back of my closet. The ones I wore the day I met you. The ones sprinkled with a layer of dust from neglect. The ones I won’t be able to look at anymore.
The doctors surrounded me. Their faces flushed from exhaustion, their eyes filled with sympathy. I watched the movement of their mouths but heard only murmuring. The beep was still ringing in my ears. And you were a silence in this world full of noise.
A silence which left me isolated and irreclaimable.
<The choice I made. The choice that placed you over all else, over blood, over culture, over faith. The choice that I have no explanation for other than that I wanted you to live. That is the choice that will distance me from all that is familiar, all that I have known and will mould me into something new. That decision I will never feel remorse for because it gave you another chance. I chose you.