The power to decide

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by Avis Hickman

I am standing here at the window of this dismal sickroom, looking down at the children playing in the garden. The sounds of their laughter float up into this overheated bedroom – intrusive, jarring; full of life.

I don’t know how long I’ve been standing here – minutes yes, but not hours; there aren’t enough of those left. I ache to slow down time – extend these moments indefinitely. But I don’t want any more suffering.

I’ll have to tell them to be quiet, again; they have no concept of what is going on up here, and maybe that’s for the best. The harsh sound of laboured breathing competes with their laughter from below. It’s an uneasy amalgam, which adds to the sense of dread, bubbling just below the surface. Concentrating on practicalities, I’ve made sure the pain is arrested and soothed. In the end, this is the most important. The only thing left I can do.

Now, there seems not enough time left to say goodbye; I wish there were more. As the breathing slows and quietens, I feel a sudden surge of panic and want to call back my actions. I don’t want to be left bereft – an orphan. Turning my head, I watch as the seconds tick away, and I become the oldest generation.

I am still standing at the window, hypodermic in hand, when there is finally only the children’s laughter to be heard.

Avis Hickman-Gibb is a newly established writer, living in rural Suffolk, England with her husband, one son and two cats. She’s had stories published in Every Day Fiction, Twisted Tongue, The Pygmy Giant and Shine! You can find links to more of her writing here.

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  1. #1 by Anonymous on July 20, 2008 - 6:13 am

    Very sad. Nice contrast between the sick room, the playing children and the generations theme.

    Well done.

    Bill

  2. #2 by Sarah Hilary on July 26, 2008 - 8:21 am

    I love this, Avis, especially that moment of panic and the realisation that the woman is now the older generation.

  3. #3 by Mark on August 9, 2008 - 1:22 pm

    Great capture of passing time from the individual’s point of view.

    Cheers

    Mark

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