And it was in a cloud of impatience, rage, confusion and sadness that a single lone voice spoke out;
Temperance, it said, Temperance.
Who was that voice? God perhaps. A spirit? My conscience? Who?
I'm not sure, but voices like that...are like ice on a hot day.
Suddenly the cloud vanished. A few deep breaths, and everything seemed so much clearer, so much more at peace.
Perhaps in my period of sadness, wondering why I was sad, and whether I should be feel more sad, I began to translate some of that sadness into anger. I never was that close to her, yet there was a strange sort of protective pride - a duty, if you will. As one whom spent the better 16-17 years of his life in the same house as her, watching her doing her morning excercises and drinking that tiny cup of coffee from that same chipped little mug.
Hearing her pray for me, to the gods of heaven, each day and each hour, when I had exams, when I feel sick, when I went overseas, when I went with my friends.
Hearing her words, even as we grew older and she grew sicker; even when her mind was ill it still thought of us - Most hallucinations are of dangers happening to the victim, but her greatest fear was of danger happening to us.
The phone rang every day for six months straight.
And then the phone calls stopped.
Visited we did. Us to her, or vice-versa. All smiles and laughter, yet still it seemed strained. We knew, she knew - everyone knew, but no one said. No one wanted to say. And still I don't know whether it was true.
Of course it had to happen. The bump only sped it up, they said. Only sped it up.
And she lay there, on their bed, and we went every day, and sometimes I cursed at being interupted in my own activities, then cursed myself for cursing, and then saw her on the bed and threw all curses aside, they had no place there, there wasn't enough room for more.
Only blessings were needed. But blessings, unlike curses, never come often enough.
It got worse, she got worse, and so a decision was made. And so five days were set aside, while there they cleaned the bed.
It happened so fast. I didn't know what to say.
Cry? Scream? There wasn't anything like that. So I just kept quiet, wondering why I didn't cry and didn't scream and didn't feel anything; and grew sad at not being sad, and angry at not being angry and slowly, the cloud built up amongst the fog of fever, among the pains of cough.
And then, just when I was contemplating shouting at the blasted priest with his cane and lantern and endless chanting--
The voice spoke out
I still want to know who it was today.
And so I'll remember that word, and remember that day.