A hospital bed stood in the center of the room, once a living room. Now it was a dying room, its walls covered with loved ones’ artifacts and memories. The man in the bed was tiny, shrunken, his body barely visible beneath the sheet that covered him. Only his feet and one hand created small hills in the otherwise nearly-flat landscape. His face was turned to one side and his eyes never left mine. Hold me, they said, I know everything. Hold me.
The skin of the man’s face was surprisingly smooth, as if all the cells of his body had ceased their normal work and instead concentrated on making his skin look like a teenager’s again. His eyes looked out from inside deep dark recesses that were two small caves in his face. His eyes spoke. I know everything. I remember when I was a tiny jumble of cells, a zygote. I remember the feel of the wind on my skin, of the sight of birds flying overhead. Once I wanted to fly with them. Now I have become part of this sheet, this bed, this room. I feel myself getting bigger and smaller at the same time. Hold me.
I held him. Softly I sang, surrounding him with song, and the notes became bigger and joined with his spirit, his life essence, that stood just behind him. Together we kept expanding, my clear high notes and his eternal life presence, becoming as large as All That Is, spinning into the heavens. The memories in the room applauded. This is what they had come for.
Gently I placed a hand over his that lay beneath the sheet. His body-shell trembled. His shrunken chest rose up and down, guiltily, tiredly. I felt the nearly-constant tremor in his hand soften. The notes rose and fell in rhythm with his chest. Sleep, his eyes said. Sleep.
Soon, promised the notes. The memories in the room swelled with appreciation. Soon. The body-shell sighed. The mouth spoke but the words that fell out were from another time. The notes receded. Cells quivered. Soon.