I Go to My Files

When I was 16, one of my friends died. He dropped his tray in the cafeteria one day, complaining of dizziness. He was diagnosed with an inner ear problem, and two weeks later he was in a coma.

My best friend and I visited him in the hospital--a children's hospital in The Metropolis; though he was nonresponsive, I knew, with the positivity that comes from never having grief in my life, that a miracle would occur, and he would get better.

He died the next day.

When I was in college I wrote about it:


My friend Rachel pushed open the heavy metal door, and we walked into the room. I glanced around, looking at everything except the bed in the middle of the room.
"Hello," I said to the people sitting by the window. I introduced myself, still trying not to focus on the body that used to be my friend.
His sister led us to the bed, and I was shocked as I looked down on the still form that lay there. The room was dark--only one light was on--and yet his skin glowed, pale and yellow. He did not look like a real person.
"Hi Clif," I whispered, staring down at him. Was this really my friend? We'd known each other for three years, but I didn't recognize him. My friend Clif played the sax and wrote poems about my clumsiness and tormented me and laughed with me and WHO WAS THIS PERSON IN THE BED?
His breath came in short gasps, the ventilator rising and falling with his chest. Under his fluttering eyelids, his eyes were rolled back so that only the white part showed. His once thick red hair looked as though it had been carelessly glued onto his scalp. His body, beneath the sheets, had turned from stockiness to wasted remains.
He was not who I came to see.
I couldn't speak; I didn't know what I would say. I could only look at him and remember how, only three weeks ago, he'd been looking over my biology homework and telling me what a dork I was, while I--stupid!--responded in kind, showing my affection in sarcastic words and dismissive looks.
I looked at the monitors, I looked at his plastic identification bracelet, I looked at what was left of him, and I prayed that I would not cry in front of him.
Then, unable to stay another moment, I turned and walked out of the room, through the cold colorless corridors of the hospital, and followed the painted yellow footprints out into the night.

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