My uncle was a generous man. Sometimes, too generous. He was an organ donor, and his generosity saved three lives on three different occasions. The hospital couldn't believe it. He knew that he could've died any minute, but he lived on as if he had all the time in the world.
Looking back, I envy his ability to do the impossible and expect nothing in return. Not money, nor favors. The only thing he accepted was one thank you, and nothing else.
One, and only one.
It has been three years since his death. Three years since he changed the way I thought, the way I lived.
The doctors claimed that his liver couldn't handle the pressure of an operation, and that he'd have a very low chance of making it out of the operation room alive. He took his hand and placed it on the nurse's shoulder, and said "If I can save a life, I won't let odds get in the way of it.", and walked right in without looking back.
Minutes passed. I was waiting on a chair in the hallway opposite of the operation room, with nothing else but him on my mind. Everything boiled down to "There's no way in Hell that he'll survive this", but I couldn't let those thoughts get the better of me. Stay optimistic, he said only a few hours back. You never know what'll happen if you're too concentrated on what might not.
Minutes went by like hours, and it was killing me. Not that I didn't trust the doctors to do their job, but I was beginning to feel worried. There had been no news of his wellbeing in the last hour. What the hell was going on in there? I didn't have to ask a second time.
"All available medical staff, report to room 106-A immediately. Code blue, code blue."
106-A. I had been staring at the silver-tinted engraving for the last who knows how long, and it still took me a solid ten seconds to register what she had just said. I bolted from my seat and bashed through the door. Was I too late?
Beep. Beep. Beep.
The steady, rapidly accelerating and decelerating pattern of electronic pitches and mechanical pumps I was hearing was nothing more than his heartbeat.
Nothing to worry about.
The yelling, bustling and struggling staff surrounding me and my uncle was nothing more than his only hope of survival.
Something to worry about.
At first glance, I could tell that the whole operation had just hit the fan. My uncle had somehow woken himself up from his sedated state, his eyes darting from left to right, then leaving them locked onto mine. His muscles lost their tension everywhere else in his body, as his grip tightened around my hand. I was determined not to leave and to never let go. I was his lifeline.
All noise, all sound cancelled out as he spoke to me in the most relaxed tone I've heard from him in my life.
"My body may be worth hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars in the eyes of a doctor, or as salvation in the eyes of a receiving patient, but you must value your life as if it is priceless. Live it knowing your fate is inevitable, and let that become your reason to live. "
My hold had grown stronger tenfold, my eyes began to tear up. I couldn't speak. I was feeling emotion beyond speech, beyond comprehension. I opened my mouth, only for silence to reign above all. I placed my forehead against his as I sobbed.
"Don't leave me! Don't you dare leave me!" I begged, but it was futile. His fate was sealed.
I rose my head to see that along a tear in his eye, a smile had formed on his face; the one he'd reserve for when he was truly happy, like when he first held me in his arms, or when I had gotten married. This felt so... sincere. True, as if it was meant to be. As if he expected this.
I gave him one last squeeze, and he answered with one of equal force.
He was gone.
Gone, as if he left along with that final effort. Here one second, gone the other. Alive one, missing the other. It felt so surreal. My mind couldn't process it. My uncle had ceased to exist in physical form. I couldn't talk to him anymore. I couldn't sit down on a Wednesday afternoon and spend the few minutes we'd have together, enjoying each other's company. Everything that he was, is and could've been, gone.
I let my grip loosen, lifting his hand to his chest, placing it over his heart with an open palm. I looked around to see that the doctors had stopped everything. A moment of close-to-silence.
The heart-rate monitor displayed a flat line, producing no sound. How considerate of them.
I stood, wiping a tear from my face and his, closing his eyes as he plunged into an eternal slumber.
A short story I wrote in fifteen minutes.
You did this in 15 minutes!? It would take me at least three times as much time to write something deep this long. Well done. Shows the fragility of life, but it doesn't matter because the man died with a smile in his heart I'm sure of it.
Nicely done; that brought a tear to my eye.