It was a small room, a mess with wires. Filling up its interior was a single window, two easy chairs, a medium-sized dresser, and much advanced machinery. A small, crude bed occupied the center of the room, leaving little space to stand.
The window was nicely curtained with faded, blue lace. Though small, it had a refreshing view of the far-away mountains and seemingly cloudless skies. The two easy chairs were mismatched, old and drab; yet, at the same time, comfortable and familiar. One of the chairs, the one to the left of the doorway, was a dull, green color, with patches and tape barely concealing the rips and holes in the aged material. The other chair, the one next to the dresser, was in better condition. It was high and overstuffed, made with a rather plain, floral-printed fabric. The dresser was of unstained wood, with a few handles missing and chipped corners. On the top lay only one item: a picture, framed in cheap brass. This picture showed a healthy-looking family, smiling and laughing at the photographer.
Among all of these welcoming furnishings, was the alien and impersonal machinery. The wires and tubing were scattered everywhere, Thrown and left where they fell. These machines produced the only sounds coming from within the room; a low humming sound, along with an occasional, high-pitched beeping from the monitors. The machines next to the bed seemed to reduce it in appearance with all of its overbearing electronic appearance. The sheets on the bed were stained with various medications, spilled from time to time. They were folded to perfection, not even a wrinkle in sight, for they were ironed daily.
The room was kept clean, dusted, and washed down daily, also. During the day, the dingy window was opened to free the small room from its stale stench. The small picture was picked up and looked over a hundred times. The two easy chairs were used frequently in those last days by loving people who brought with them forced cheer, unhappy smiles, and jokes which were staler than the air.
Lying on the bed, neatly tucked under the sheets, was my mother, slowly and painfully dying. 1
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.