Roadmap

How do you respond when the man you’re falling for asks if you would turn off the life-support machine if something happened? “Well, that’s a loaded question.” “What would you do? Tell me.” I would be there every day, opening those plastic pots of orange juice in case you woke up. Your box of cigars would remain hidden behind the empty IV bags that I will have collected as souvenirs. Only the tiny bottles of wine from last year’s advent calendar could pull me through. Your face would be ashy, and your moustache would be unruly like the disease that will come to take you away. I’d return to your apartment, collecting your favourite books so that I could read to you. “It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone…).” If they allowed me, I would wash you with soap and water, taking care to make sure you were clean. Toronto would be a soundboard for great ideas born out of excruciating grief. The long winding road which you rode down on your bicycle would start to crumble, feeling neglected by you. Knowing I would have to choose between letting you go or prolonging your pain with no hope of returning would be like being stabbed by the Earth. “What do you think I would want?” “To be switched off.” “Would you?” I would hold your hand in mine, tracing your veins like a roadmap. “Yes.”

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