(Don’t flip the switch.)
The voices follow her everywhere. She hears them in her apartment, on the subway, in the elevator. They’re a constant undercurrent whenever she listens to music.
A subliminal message of indecision.
Turn it off. Turn everything off.
(No. Leave it on. Let things happen as they will.)
It’s been a week, and then two, and she still can’t decide, and the voices – the whispers of her own subconscious – grow louder, more persistent.
Ordinary switches – lights, power strips, her computer – seem to be urging her toward a greater choice.
The simple act of turning off a light is exhausting.
Cut the power.
(Keep the power on.)
She walks through the rain, holding the pink umbrella she’s has since childhood, imagining switches everywhere. On car doors, on mail boxes, on the sides of buildings.
Finally, her soggy feet carry her inside the tall building, to the private room at the end of the hall on the seventeenth floor.
The attendant in lavender scrubs shakes his head. “No; I’m sorry.”
She sits on the side of the bed, staring at the monitors, listening to the steady beeping and the machine driven intake and outflow of air.
“Can you call the doctor, please?”
The attendant nods once and disappears.
She lifts the still-warm, wrinkled hand of the man who has been her lifelong constant, providing her with a pink tool set, a Fisher-Price car, petite garden tools so she could work along-side him.
“Pop-pop?” She uses her childhood nicknamefor him. “I know you never wanted this. I’m sorry. I should have listened.”
Her tears wet his skin, roll into the crevices of hands that could braid hair or hang a tire swing with equal finesse.
“I found my old fishing pole in the garage. You taught me how to bait my own hook, and how to stun the fish we caught. I hope… I hope there’s fishing in heaven.”
She knows he can’t hear her words. She understands that there’s no longer any THERE, there.
But she keeps on talking.
The attendant returns with the doctor in tow.
“It’s time,” she tells the woman in a lab coat over a blue suit. “Let him go.”
It’s a solemn moment and yet it’s also mundane. The doctor flips a switch.