he can’t go home again

Myrln fidgets in the hospital bed in the emergency room, where they have him hooked up to various machines that beep and chime and whir.
“I just wanted a few more days. I needed a few more days. I needed time to think….” He looks at me with eyes angry and sad at the same time. He is back in the hospital after only two days at home from a week-long stay for tests and such. I have been with him for the past 36 hours, including this morning when we had to call a Rescue Ambulance because he couldn’t breathe, even with an oxygen tank.
We have been divorced now for twice as many years as we were married. But time had healed our wounds and we had developed a friendly relationship.
“I will be eternally grateful,” he wheezes, “for all you are doing for me now.”
My eyes fill with tears. “No problem,” I say.
“I have to tell you something,” he says. “Even through it all, there was always a little love left.”
“Yes,” I say. “Me too.”
And I’m crying and we are holding hands the way we once did long before I begged him to stop smoking.
Tonight he is temporarily hooked up to a respirator. b!X arrived from Oregon, and his sister and family from Massachusetts. He has not yet been awake for b!X and him to have a little time together. I hope he wakes, for both their sakes.
Meanwhile, I am back on the mountain with my mother, but I suspect will be be leaving again in a day or so.
They will take him off the respirator. He will either breathe or not. Either way, he won’t be going home again.
Myrln, who once blogged here on Mondays, is my former spouse, the father of my children. He has inoperable lung cancer, which has spread to just about every vital organ.