Yet, at the same time she sees those who, with a scowl upon their face, recoil as though she was a leper. They shout angry and accusatory words, fearful of the fate she may bestow upon them.
As if she even holds such power.
When she reaches the door, it opens, a group of nurses or doctors – she’s not sure which – ready to lead her to his room. She stops and turns back to the crowd. Are they really here to see her?
Or to pay him a respectful farewell.
Or, maybe, by the looks on some of those faces, a good riddance.
“This way,” a taller woman says. “There’s not much time.”
With a nod to the crowd, she follows as they lead her down the white sterile corridor toward the elevators, their heads bowed in silence, a somber acknowledgement of why she is here.
When the doors open to the third floor, the air, unlike the warm yet antiseptic atmosphere that greeted her back in the lobby, is cold and heavy, and it weighs down upon her shoulders, pushes against her heart. They step out as a group, but the nurses and doctors all stop, as they seem to know that from here on she must make this journey alone.
“319,” says the tall woman, pointing.
Moving to the room’s doorway, she leans in for a peek. She gasps, the mere sight of him lying crumpled in that bed stealing her breath. She quickly averts her gaze to the monitor above him, where a green jagged line marches along its screen, chirping with each of his remaining heartbeats. To her right, a large clock with long black hands is centered on the wall. It looks out of place, something better suited to a classroom back in the 70s.
The time is 11:58.
“Come in,” he invites in a raspy voice. “Sit. There is so much I want to say. But no time...” He leans to the side, hacking out a series of coughs.
She takes the seat beside him, the first tears beginning to form in her eyes. “I am so lost,” she squeaks out.
“You’ll do fine. Everyone is lost right now. Compassion cannot be heard over all the noise. You can help silence that hate, let the world see love for a change. I—“
But his words die, as the does the jagged line, and the chirps revert to a steady buzz. 2020 looks to the clock – midnight – then she leans down to gently kiss 2019 goodbye.