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The Last Sonata

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This silence is incredible. I can't believe there can be such silence, with everything that is going on. But I suppose that all of Manhattan, all of the world is holding their breath. What can there be but silence now? I am all but alone in this hospital. Most of the other patients have been taken home by their families, and all of the nurses and doctors are spending this day at home. It is so odd to not be surrounded by the usual hustle and bustle found in a hospital. There are no nurses checking in on my son, and although the door to his room is wide open, I do not hear a single sound of life. The stillness of everything is perturbing, and I slowly get to my feet, to look out the window and distract my thoughts, as I have countless times before.

The street, too, is devoid of life. It has been this way for many days now. I am trying to remember what it was like before, but it is difficult. The streets had been teeming with people and cars, going about their lives. Horns honked and drivers shouted. Pedestrians laughed and chatted merrily. But that was weeks ago. And it would never be that way again. My watch beeps the hour, shaking me from my reveries. I check it. Noon' it is almost time.

I hurry back to my son's bedside, holding his hand in mine. Except his pale, thin appearance, his outgrown hair and the scruff about his face, he looks just as he did two years ago, when he left my home on his motorcycle, walking out my door for the last time. Every day, I expect him to wake up and bid me good morning. But he won't, and for that I am thankful. Although I want nothing more than for him to speak to me again on our last day, I am happy he is not awake for this. I wish I were not awake for this.

Holding his hand in one of mine, I reach over and flip on the radio to my favorite station. I wanted to hear someone speaking in these last minutes. The station is nothing but fuzz, and I begin to flip through until I find a voice.

"Ladies and gentleman, it is now twelve o' two. We are seven minutes from impact." I grip my son's hand tightly, pursing my lips together as the radioman pauses. "Well' how about a little music?" He says, keeping his voice light as someone can in times like these. Tears well in my eyes as I am listening. The strength of this man amazes me' He was carrying an entire nation on his shoulders, billions of people with little but fear in their hearts. Parents holding their children tightly, young people who had yet to live, couples who had looked forward to so much, all listening to him, depending on him to see us through. One of those tears escapes my eyes and begins to trail down my cheek, but I don't bother to wipe it away. This was as good a time as any to just let them fall.

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata is beginning to sway out of the radio. I silently compliment the radioman for his choice. There is nothing I would like to listen to more than this right now.

"Listen," I say to my son, placing one of my hand on his shoulders. "It's Beethoven. The Moonlight Sonata. Do you hear it? It's beautiful'" I sniff deeply as two more tears escape my eyes. I could feel the held breath of the world around me. They were all waiting for what was to come in silence. I spoke again to my son, my voice wavering. "Do you remember when you were little? I used to play classical music whenever we cleaned the house. You used to love it, dancing to everything. We would always end up dancing together instead of cleaning. Do you remember, son?" I placed my hand on his cheek.

The radioman begins to speak again, the piano still playing behind him. "Ladies and gentlemen, we now have thirty seconds left. I'd like to say that it has been my greatest pleasure broadcasting to you all. I wouldn't have lived my life any other way. Good luck, and pleasant journeys." He takes a deep, shaking breath. "Fourteen. Thirteen. Twelve. Eleven. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven." His voice broke. The music was still playing behind him, reaching its climax. I am humming along with the notes ' I know the song well.

"Six." It's such a lovely song.

"Five." I think it's almost over.

"Four." Yes, it's beginning to slow down.

"Oh, God." I say quietly, throwing myself onto my son.

"Two." The song reaches its final notes.

"One."





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Hailee C. said...
May 10, 2009 at 4:56 pm
I've actually since changed the title to The Radioman, for anyone who wants to know.
 
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