They were the first to surround me. Doctors in white coats and peering eyes. I couldn't see them, but their voices were falsely soft, roughened edges around the truth. There was a woman, a nurse, they didn't trust her. When they spoke to her they expanded on things; they described, they explained. She understood it all though, I heard her talking in the doorway one day. I imagined her pretty, beautiful even. She was engaged, to a man in London. He was handsome, smart as well. He was coming over in a month, and they were to be married at the old Cathedral. I heard all this as she comforted my mother, chatting endlessly away to her. I knew it was what my mother needed, something to take her mind off things. My father, he would clumsily enter, trying to be careful, silent, failing. He rarely came alone though, as if he was embarrassed. One time, he came and sat next to me. He cried, great raking sobs that tore him apart, tore me apart. My friends came now and then. Lizzy would come to most, sometimes by herself. She'd sit there and talk about everything; who was dating who, her exam marks, her brothers 10th birthday party. Everything that I was missing. She'd talk, although I knew she didn't believe I could hear. No one did. My parents fought once. My grandmother was sick, not long left now. But they didn't want to leave me. And there, a great choice was made. Mother or daughter. She choose me. I wanted to tell her, that it was okay, that she could leave me here, but I couldn't. She couldn't do anything for me here. Dad came and told me when Grandmother died, Mum had gone down for the funeral. He had said that although I couldn't hear him, he hoped that I would now. The nurse had left now, she'd been replaced. The doctors trusted her more. They barked their orders at her, no need to explain. I didn't like her though. She wasn't very pretty. She would come, do what was needed, then leave. Never more than a few words said to anyone but the doctors. Mum took to coming less. Lizzy took to coming more. Her chatter drowning out the noise of the machines. The machines. They were incessant. Their beeping, their incessant beeping. Whenever no one was there, it was all I could hear. I tried to imagine them sheep, jumping them over fences. When I longed for a change it became cats. Then dogs. Children next. I would dress each differently, manicure their hair. I passed the time lethargically. Time meant little to me. The doctors came one day, my parents too. It was rare they came together. They had news. It wasn't good. Mum collapsed hurriedly into the nearest chair. Dad broke into sobs. I smiled. Everyone came after that. My friends, family. People I had barely meet that still insisted to stand over me, falsely sad tones in their voice. I could tell they didn't care. People cried, people lingered. Mum was never far, nor was Dad. The next time the doctors came, my parents were already there. They spoke quickly, briefly, telling the same as before. Mum cried no longer, as if the tears had already left her. They asked. She answered no. They were sombre. The steps were smooth, no longer rough. It wasn't a first. Their hand rested. For the final time, I closed my eyes.