One For the Angels, Part 4 (Conversations With Dead People Challenge)

I thought about him as I watched my mom through the ICU observation window. Just like I’d thought about him when she received her diagnosis. It was like he knew. “Your mother needs you.”

Twenty years later, it was the reason I was still here. It hurt, watching her die like this. A different kind of hurt than losing my first wife, but just as intense. This time, I knew I could take it. I hated it, but I could survive it. I had to. I had others who needed me.

I needed a cigarette. I went outside to have a smoke and call my wife. I let the nicotine buzz set in before calling home. I was opening the phone and speed-dialing home when the coughing started.

I doubled over. The phone slipped from my hand. I heard my wife’s far away voice calling my name. I coughed so hard I fell to my knees. I felt a hand pounding me on the back, and looked up.

Greasy hair. Greasy clothes. Skanky coat. Hadn’t shaved in days. He smiled. “You made it, kid.”

“What the fuck?” I managed to ask between coughs. (continued)

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