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by Eden Sharp

I sit there watching him. Sit and witness the pain and the anguish, and it seems odd to no longer care. Now there is nothing I can say or do to make it any better. On several occasions tears stream down his cheeks and he snatches them away attempting to regain some immediate composure. If I feel anything, it’s a kind of frustration. Very rarely in my life had I seen him cry. He’s not the sort of guy you can ever imagine crying unless he’s alone.

I think hard about him falling asleep, concentrate on that. I’d like it if he could dream about me. Be back in that time when I got my first job and he felt good about me and we went to eat ribs at Tony Roma’s and laughed so hard at the ineptitude of the waiter. That is exactly my status now, inept.

He’s feeling so useless and there’s little I can do. Nothing of any substance. I have lost my way to connect. It’s ironic and unfair. When we were kids growing up we were always so close. Maybe he will remember the times when I cared for him.

I imagine the plastic chair is really unforgiving after so many hours, yet I would gladly sit in it. The edge of the bed has to be more comfortable but I look down as I perch and marvel at how it retains its original shape.

I am waiting for his face to fall apart because I know something he does not. He is denying its very possibility with all his strength. I look from him and back over my shoulder to my alienated form in the bed. In a sudden singular moment the alarms on the machines will draw the only remaining conclusion, bringing medical staff to relate that which he categorically dreads. Then they will finish their long shifts and forget this scene and go home. For them, another normal day will be over.

Eden Sharp teaches fiction writing and publishing at SSU, is an ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors, and reviews crime fiction for the San Francisco Book Review. Her Amazon bestselling title, The Breaks, following her vigilante private investigator who seeks justice against perpetrators who are above the law, is out now. Book two in the series, GET9, releases later in 2015. Find out more at edensharp.com.