Chapter 8:

To be. Or not to be?

I watched Life Spring into my eyes

After about a total of two years and three months the large frame through which we watched the world seemed to grow fainter and darker, like eyes losing their shine of youth. Mom and Ariana continued their visit but now they seemed much closer. If I didn’t know that mom was mom and Ari was Ariana I would think that they were mother and daughter visiting a bedridden family member.

My other self--my unconscious--lacked all the dark murkiness from the first time I met him. He became exactly like me in emotional state and behavior, well it's more like I became like him. I became silent with an impassive expression smeared into the face of my skull but more importantly a bit more thoughtful. I don’t know why or how, since all we did for the past two years and a quarter was just sit and stare at something that might not even be real.

But as time passed and the world continued without me, all my thoughts began to flow and rejoice, shape and burst, exist and cease. I would think of the most abstract topics to the most mundane in a cycle over and over. Once I had started this exercise I would forget how to stop. But I didn’t want to stop because I knew that my existence could have been shut off at any moment. 

At any moment, I would cease to know anything because I would be dead. Yeah sure that can go for anybody, anybody at all could die at any given moment without any given warning and without even realizing. But it’s just different when you're watching your loved ones cry for you through the sequestered blinds of your own eyes.

Your outlook on life's simplest joys changes drastically with that sight. It makes you want to breach the walls of reality and reach for them with warm hands and a beating heart to tell them “I’m ok, I’m ok and you will be too. Live for me and enjoy what I couldn’t. Love the world and the fickle tragedy known as life.” Or something cheesy like that.

Maybe that's what slowly changed me into wanting and hoping for life to spring up from the cracks of my eyelids. Spring up from my hollow and decaying body. Unlike before in my day-to-day life where I simply rejoiced at the collapse of each day, knowing that my time to go into that gentle goodnight etched closer, and I wouldn’t have to worry about seeing a sad face or the growing ache in my very soul.

A dismal tear formed in the arch of my eye and plummeted into the abyss underfoot. Forever falling nowhere, I thought as I wiped my face and looked from the screen before me, to my left where he still sat, his eyes plastered to the screen unwavering and sullen.

“Hey, I's time,” I whispered.

“No. Not yet. Don’t take this away.” He retorted without turning to face me. I nodded knowing what we felt, that feeling of being right at the edge. An edge where everything is presented before you but you just never know when the weight of everything will make the platform underfoot buckle and spiral you into oblivion.

His heated hunger for the colors, the shapes, the love, and everything that makes being...being just didn’t let me fathom the sweetness that lay in that goodnight. In those many moments of me wanting to give up and him not letting me, I found ephemeral solace and...desired to live.


The latch of the door resounded through the room and then a litter of male and female doctors poured into the room. They walked determined and in unison their unique gaits seemingly nonexistent. They spoke hurriedly and spread a sense of unease through the room. The corners, the medical instruments, and even my fickle bones seemed to repulse their presence.

It’s like all the matter in the room knew what was coming, that the seemingly placid state in that room would soon end and plunge into chaos.

“GENTLE-men and women,” said a doctor clad in the same wardrobe as the other. The cap on his head shuffled as he took the center of the room and the group began to form a semi-circle around.

“The truth is in the books” he raised his left hand and rested it on his chest. “The truth is evident and the truth is bitter.” His head dropped slightly and his shoulders let loose any tensions. “The boy,” his left hand sorrowfully left the port of his chest and pointed towards me. “Has roughly two months and a half left.” His hand dropped to his side.

My eyes twitched. Beside me, I could hear a long inhale and then a sigh. Our tears had dried and I felt emptier than before. We had no reason to really feel any more or any less since we've long known our death was close behind.

A female doctor, short in size, raised her hand then inquired “I registered only about a month of life left."

“Are your calculations due to his comatose state? The failure and over-exertion of cellular apoptosis in roughly seventy-nine percent of his body all add up to it being one month.” She pushed her glasses into the bridge of her nose in a smug way, her voice spilling from her in a programmed manner and void of subjectivity.

The doctor turned his head halfway, his gaze not meeting her. “Precisely, thanks for that Ashley. I was just about to indulge the premise of the patient waking from the comatose state.” He cleared his throat then looked to one of the doctors on his right and spoke.

“So this is the case, people. The patient here has only two and a half months of life if he stays in this comatose state, this is because the body will stay dormant and won’t overexert itself thus delaying the progression of apoptosis from reaching one hundred percent and eating away the whole of all main functions of the body. As of now, there are no signs of cellular destruction in the brain, but besides that, the liver, kidney, and heart are less than a quarter of a way into apoptosis. Any questions?” The male doctor said as he did a full three-sixty on the ball of his foot looking from masked face to masked face waiting for any query.

“Ok then. We will be telling the patient's family that he has about 3 months to live, nobody is to tell them about the condition if he awakes from the coma. If the details on this patient slip out to the family we could have a severe case on our hands specifically with what happened with the mother.”

From behind the frame our heads perked up. “What happened to mom? I didn’t see anything wrong with her.”

I looked over to him beside me. "I was here the whole time right and you were too. Did I miss something? What happened to mom?”

My emotions began to rain down on me like a pianist striking the keys with unrivaled passion.

“Yes, I was here. You, however, slept for a bit. Do you recall that you were falling? Falling and falling and seeing me slip through those slits of memories?”

“Yeah, when you were just a blob. But what of it?”

“During the time you were falling it was just you—conscience—resting and with that, time was passing and I had full control. During that time about a month or three weeks had passed. I saw when mom forced her way into the room and the way she sobbed on our body then the way they pulled her out. I also overheard that she had been admitted into this same hospital from a severe panic attack which led to a small stroke.” 

His words flowed from his lips with no registration of emotions, no dynamics in the tone of his voice to entertain sincerity, pain, or sadness.

Nothing was in there. But a lot began to bubble within me.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” My left arm sprung to life wanting to do something, a motion, a grab of his arm, a smack. But nothing came of it, my arm just slowly lifted then solemnly slinked back into its position beside me.

“Why does it matter if I told you? Don’t you remember how you treated her just for caring about us? Why does a being only matter when their flame of life grows smaller?” His response was meticulous and swift, not a single breath wasted on expressing the fondness and complexity of what he might have felt.

I didn’t know what to say, the truth behind those words baffled and completely silenced me. I could only turn my head quietly and look at the fading frame, then the doctors dancing out of the room.

My thoughts slowly ate at me while my emotions cooled and dissipated into nothing. I just wanted to go back and hug mom or even to hug Ari.

I laid my head onto the platform of nothingness below me and stared upwards. I closed my eyes and thought of their smiles and their tears, their joy and their pain, over the time I’ve been here. I thought of what I would say if I woke up at any of those moments, if I would even tell them I only had one month left to live.

One...month to live. What do I do with that one month? Isn’t that a little bit of time? Won’t it be less since I’ll just be slowly dying? I could die anytime after roughly three to four weeks...

Beside me, the incessant sound of dripping emanated from him. It grew louder and louder, almost sounding like whole oceans flopping onto an empty canyon.

I opened my eyes and turned my head to look over at him. He seemed to be crying.

Why was he crying? How was he crying?...these questions filled my mind and trapped my words.

I can’t explain it and I think I will never be able to put into words how it made me feel and what ensued after, all I could remember saying was, “I...It’s ok to cry now. It’s ok, we don’t have to be strong for anyone.” The words barely being able to escape the knot in my throat.

“I’M SORRY,” he roared with emotions finally breaking through. He repeated this over and over as he sprawled his massless body onto the non-existent platform below and sobbed into it. His cries were like mine, just like them but so different, it sounded like the first cries of a baby, the first cries of existence. 

I couldn’t tell if that meant they were tears of happiness or tears of sadness. But I knew that he was beginning to be.

“I finally saw the world in motion. I finally got to see it. I’m sorry.” He said one last time and then dissipated into the darkness of it all. His words, painfully bathing in a bitter-sweet tone, seemed to carry the cries of existence.

The final woes of him undulating through a nothingness never to be explored, never to be heard.

I reached out one of my arms to where he lay just a few seconds ago, my lips trembling from the coldness of loneliness, searching for any companion in the darkness.

The darkness began to close in around me, the large frame fading into nothing, the only thing left was the bit of platform under me and darkness.

Thoughts began to swirl around me with each word and every sentence I had ever spoken beating in the darkness around me. Words became physical apparitions. Words became alive.

But it came to a calm, the hectic materialization then deterioration of each word calmed to only a few. These few that remained conjoined into a sentence that lay bare before me.

In the darkness, I could see them as bright as day and It read “To be. Or not to be?”

My lips moved on their own and I was reading the sentence. Before I knew it I was repeating the line over and over.

What does it mean, why did he apologize? What the hell is happening? WHERE DID HE GO WHERE DID THE WORLD GO. I screamed deep into the emptiness of my body.

“MOM!” I yelled out to the nothing, “ARI!” I yelled out again to the far stretches of my mind.

The darkness collapsed in on me and then everything felt light and warm.

Murmurs in the distance. The sound of a door not too far off opening then closing. The sound of my heart beating against my chest. A rhythmic beep buzzing beside me. The smell of antiseptics. A mask...mask...why is there a mask here? Wasn’t I I? My limbs feel heavy. How do I get out of this darkness? do I open my eyes. How do I open my dried lips to expose the vacancy in my unused vocal cords?

“To be. Or not to be?” A familiar whisper wept in my ear followed by a dripping sound on my left side.

I know’s familiar. It...It's familiar.

Suddenly a rush of energy filled my body allowing my eyelids to jolt open and expose my eyeballs, then came the light. Everything around was so bright. My body felt so weak. My head started spinning with the blindingness of the light. But it felt good to feel everything in my flesh, to see a blinding light rather than that vacant darkness. My eyes adjusted and the room from the frame took form, this time the frame seemed to be moving with me.

Wait…I thought to myself.

I tilted my head from side to side and the frame moved in response, I also noticed how much closer I was to the frame...almost like I was in it.


I tried to speak but words couldn’t form, all I could feel was a hum in the back of my throat trying to escape. I tried any sound, and just like a baby being born and witnessing the nakedness of light...the only sound I could make was an instinctual one; a scream.

I screamed, an awful sound came out, but I screamed.

Then I felt the sweet tender touch I had known for eternity. Soft fingers that cradled me when I was an infant. A hand unlike any other placed itself on my cheek, then a face appeared and with the face came an astounding rain.

A rain of salty pain. A rain that helps the soul wash away the turbulence of life for a moment.

As my mother's tears comforted the bones and lingering flesh of my face--along with all the medical equipment that seemed to be supporting me--I stared up at her but didn’t cry. I had no reason to cry since I was able to feel her touch again. 

All I did was smile, a smile so big that I could feel the creases of my cheeks pushing against my ear lobes, and my teeth feeling the moistness of artificial air.

I was happy to be, again.

Real Aire