I can still remember.
The still air
The sterile linoleum

The heart monitor keeping count
In tiny beeps.
Our time.

Hospitals were always a comfort.
Solace in the silence.
And I'd walk the hallways while you slept

Wandering in what seemed a clever, clean maze
Wondering past each room
"Why?"
"Who?"
"How?"

Each room was identical
In size
Shape

Colour
The fear and sadness and apprehension each room attempted to hide
What was different was
Who was in it
The supplies that the room held,
Whether it was a heart monitor like yours
Or oxygen
Or an IV

Or the food trays they brought you up until that last week

But I always found the biggest difference to be in

Who cared to visit.

At first it was forced that I visit you.
I made myself go
It hurt

It hurt so bad

But I went
Every day
We'd talk about the news
And how you felt

And what you were missing on the television
(Your room only had basic cable)

And at some point
I'd reach out and touch you
Your soft skin like paper beneath my fingers
Your bones so fragile
Your being so tiny

I can't remember who would cry first
I'd say it was you
But I believe it was probably me.

And after we'd cry
And I'd caressed your pale hair
Always so perfect, you'd make sure each time
That your hair was dried by your favourite nurse
The one that studied to be a stylist
Before she dropped out and became a nurse.

We'd fall asleep to daytime soaps
And wake up in time to catch the evening news
And I'd be ushered out by the nurses to drive home
Vision burred by the tears.
There should be a law against that
There is for driving under the influence of alcohol
What about driving under the influence of a broken heart?

I can't decide whether that day went fast or slow
The call at work
The rush to the hospital
Arriving at your room
Time stopping as I watched them fighting
The slow steady beeping
Halted.
The emptiness
Of your room.
Of me.

I can almost pinpoint the moment you stole my heart
With your smile.
You were so radiant.

We met at the fair

I was the one in the dunking booth
You were with your boyfriend
You had terrible aim.

And yet

Each time you missed
You smiled
And in the smile
I saw life itself.

You were Hope
And without you
I'm Hopeless.

That morning I visited you
Though you couldn't speak
You hadn't for a week
The oxygen on your face
The IV in your arm
The beeping
Steadily
I told you of a new job I'd got
That'd pay enough to transfer you to that
Big, fancy hospital in New York.

I'd kissed your forehead goodbye
Told you I loved you
And on the way out
I swear you whispered it back.

We were a part
A part of a whole, together.
Now we're apart.

I miss you.

I'm sorry.

It should have been me.