Grey hairs creep uninvited into his temples. There is very little energy left to blow out the birthday candles.
Nathanial sits in his favorite leather chair but he is in no mood to celebrate. Instead, he is tormented by feelings of doom as his heart beats rapidly in his chest.
When he tries to take a deep breath, beads of perspiration trickle down his face. A look of concern crosses his wife’s features but disappears in the blink of an eye, fleeting as a wisp of smoke. Emma gently strokes her husband’s arm, kisses his
cheek and whispers in his ear, “I love you.”
Nathanial tells Emma he is fine. He says his pain is fleeting. There is no reason to be alarmed.
“It is probably indigestion and like always will go away,” he says as he grimaces.
But Emma calls 911.
The ambulance siren screams a warning as it races through busy city streets towards an acute care hospital. A whooshing sound accompanies Nathanial’s stretcher through emergency room doors. Hospital staff run to his stretcher. They shout his name, tap him on the shoulder and ask if he can hear them.
He drifts in and out of consciousness and prays for the first time in his life.
Nathanial prays for one more day.