Monday, September 1, 2014

Prompt: Angel of Death, or Getting Ready for Change

Sarah felt the pillow against her head, then heard the soft, steady beeps, then felt the firm, gentle grip of fingers around her own. Her eyelids were so heavy. She had just been awake, hadn’t she? Talking….talking with…who? Whom. Her lips twitched.

The fingers against hers tightened slightly, and she heard a low, deep chuckle. “Ever the teacher, correcting even yourself.”

I didn’t say that out loud…

“You don’t have to, Sarah. It’s okay. You don’t have to spend the energy. Just rest.”

But we were talking…

“Well, I talk out loud because people don’t like to hear me in their head.”

Oh. That’s right. I remember…


What is your name, again? I’m sorry. I used to be so good with names.

“You have no need to apologize, Sarah. I don’t really have a name.”

Don’t be silly. Everyone has a name.

She supposed there might have been a time she would be frightened by someone reading her thoughts. But she sensed nothing but kindness in his voice and touch. She wanted to open her eyes and see him. Had she already? Was there really anybody there?

“I’m here, Sarah. As long as you need me, I’m here.”

She frowned. Did he hear all of her thoughts?

“No, only the ones you choose to share with me.”

That’s my choice? Or yours?

“Well, it’s mine. But I promise not to pry. And to stay as long as it takes.”

Takes for what? She felt the lines on her forehead tighten again.

“For you to be ready to let go, Sarah.”

Let go? Oh, you mean, of life? To die? Yes, that’s what we were talking about before. Oh, I remember now. You’ve been visiting me for awhile now, haven’t you?

“Yes, I have, Sarah.”

Am I taking too much of your time? Am I…taking too long?

He laughed quietly and squeezed her fingers again. She liked his laugh. Liked that he held her hand in both of his, a gentle, comfortable warmth of skin against hers. Like an old friend. Only the doctors and nurses touched her now. Kind enough, but impersonal. Taking care of her. Business.

“You take as long as you want, Sarah. As long as you need.”

Don’t you have other places you need to be? She thought about that for a moment. She might have fallen asleep again, He was still there when she continued the thought. Other people you need to be with?

“I have all the time in the world, Sarah. Don’t worry about that at all.”

She liked how he said her name. She had a dim memory of reading that people had a subconscious response to the sound of their own name that was different from any other word.

“Yes. Names are very important to humans.”

Humans? Not people? She shied away from that for the moment and thought of something else. Is that why you won’t tell me your name?

Silence. His fingers loosened for a moment, and she tried to tighten hers, to touch him.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to…

His hands slid around hers, soothing, settling into a different hold. “No, it’s not you, Sarah. I really don’t know my name. No one has asked me in a very long time. I’m trying to remember…”

What do you remember? She felt a shift. Something between them was changing. He had been comforting her, and she felt like somehow she might be comforting him. Through his touch, his voice, she could sense his hesitation, confusion.

“I…I’m not sure. Visiting people like you.”

Old, you mean?

“Not always.”

Oh, you mean dying.


What else? Is that all? What about yourself? Growing up? Do you…She hesitated to ask, because sometimes, she knew all too well from her students, the memories weren’t good. Do you remember your parents at all? Family?

“I remember heat. Sun. Pain…across my chest. My arms feel like they’re on fire.” His voice faltered. She tried again to squeeze his fingers, but she wasn’t sure if hers moved at all. “I hear voices, a crowd. Shouting, crying.” He gasped. “Pain, in my side…”

He was gone. His hands no longer wrapped around hers. Not like he pulled away. He simply was no longer there. Sarah tried once more to open her eyes. The lights in her hospice room were dim.  The monitors next to her bed beeped a little louder as she struggled to wake up and look around. There was a chair next to her bed, but it was empty. She leaned back into her pillow and let her lids fall shut again. The beeps slowed, lulling her back into sleep. Would he come back? She hoped so. She enjoyed his company. She was sorry she had upset him, pushed him to remember something that caused him such distress.

Her eyes flew open. Her lips moved in a silent whisper. “I know who you are….”

To be continued?

And so, with a loving heart, I offer you
I’ve heard many translations. Here’s one I love:
The light of the universe that shines within me recognizes
the light of the universe that shines within you.

Time writing
45 minutes

September word count


  1. That was great. Looking forward to more...if there's least tell me there's more :)

    1. Thanks, Ken! Yes, I think there's more to come...I intended to tell the AoD's story, and Sarah took over! I think I might have a different take on this old theme. Thanks for your encouragement!