The persistent beep faded as John’s breath became shallower. A pale ghostly appearance came over him. He looked as if he was draped in a transparent white delicate veil. The only colour penetrating seemed to be the little rivers of blue veins that traversed his limbs. These were gradually washed away from his frame leaving his body look like a perfect piece of marble, cold and Spartan on the hospital bed.
The nurse remarked how icy his hand felt when she took John’s soft pulse. She placed it limply on his chest. The machines were all turned off.
John was sailing away. It seemed as if he only had the brief inhalations of oxygen and the ticking of the nebulizer to keep him company on his voyage.
The beating of his heart slowed down. His pulse was like a gentle drum sounding the death march. John was hovering above the hospital bed. He was observing the porter delivering the white shroud, the request for silence in the corridors, the lowering of the television volume in wards.
“It’s time to say goodbye, it’s time…”
A large spinning white circle opened up above him and try as he might he was unable to resist its seductive beckoning. ”John, John….”
A sudden loud and painful light hit John. The pain was tremendous. He saw the ceiling whirl above him, as if he had fallen, again, a sudden white light and he jumped, his entire body twitched and clutched like a big fist. John screamed “NO”. It was too late he had dropped from the dream and crashed back to reality.
John had fallen from a glimpse of paradise. A faint frail voice whispering in his ear accompanied him.
Not the voice of a person so to speak, at least a living person but a voice of something that had latched onto him from beyond the large spinning white circle. A tiny persistent sweet voice, inquisitive reassuring, and understanding voice. The voice radiated warmth. It asked to be listened to, to be heard, it had a story to tell. It started to talk.
“John?” the voice asked.
John sat up right in the bed the voice he heard came from no-where, every-where and inside his head all at once.
“Who is it?” he answered in a lowered angry reply.
The voice giggled and said “You forgot something”.
“Stop this at once or I’ll call the nurses”.
“I’m only trying to help, it is quite important”.
John struggled to the side of his bed and attempted to look under it. He looked out the room’s door and up the corridor. He was panting with the exertion. His tolerance was at breaking point. This voice requesting attention was unrelenting.
“Could it be my imagination?”
“I’m going mad”, thought John.
It was disturbing when the voice spoke, but the silences were worse. Waiting for the tiny voice to speak and then the shock of hearing it would unnerve the strongest of people.
John was always distracted. He had no explanation for the Doctor. The voice would whisper “I’m only here to help, let me tell you what you forgot so we can both get on with things”.
The voice whispered to John. His expression pierced the quiet.
John now knew what he had forgotten. He no longer wished to be on his own, he needed something more. The room was filled with his fear, the little voice was gone, the emptiness was vast and John hoped something would fill this barren Polaroid, the desert of his life. He wished for a visitor to gust in or at the very least to hear the voice.
Silence followed by waiting.