A heart monitor bleeped softly beside Reagan’s hospital bed and try though he may, Sean couldn’t sleep. He knew he should rest and almost allowed his eyelids to droop—after all, tonight had deviated into a long, twisted night. However, tucked beneath the hospital sheets, eyes closed, chest undulating gently, lay his wife, and four in the morning or not, he knew he would deeply regret it if he spent his last hour with her asleep. So he yawned, stretched his arms, and settled as comfortably as he could into the room’s plastic chair.
She, on the other hand, had been asleep for days. Each night he had slipped in to see her, Reagan had worn the same sickly features, closed eyes, damp brow, sallow skin—Sean doubted if she even knew he was there. But, he thought, weaving a key back and forth between his fingers with as little effort as twiddling his thumbs, what would it matter? She was dying, and no number of the nurse’s simmering brews, no waving of the physician’s key could change that. He felt miserable and angry and several times a day all he wanted to do was mount his Board and zoom off into the cloud-smeared sky, the wind swishing through his hair, all his troubles littered below.
But for now, all he could do was linger beside her another hour or so before the next nurse would scurry in, balancing a piled-high tray of Butterfly Weed and Witch Hazel. By then, he’d have to be gone. Gone for the night. Gone forever.