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Description : Finn

Hospitals always smell like death.

To take my mind off the stinging smell of antiseptic, I look over at my mother who is propped up against the pillows of the hospital bed. Tendrils of her hair spread across the cotton like soft, spidery legs. When she notices me looking she smiles but her eyes are pinched at the corners. She’s trying so hard to be brave.

I’m honestly not sure why she bothers. She’s never been able to hide anything from me.

She turns her head my way. I can tell she's tired because her eyes are slightly unfocused. "Remind me when I get home that I need to refill my prescription. I keep misplacing the bottles."

"Of course, Mom. Or I can pick it up for you. You know I don't mind." I’d do anything to make this process easier for her. The chemo treatments were bad enough but due to her weak immune system, she’s back in the hospital because she developed pneumonia.

She grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze. The skin on her fingers is paper-thin now. Fragile. It’s hard to touch her when she seems like she might shatter into a thousand pieces at any moment. And I can’t live knowing I’ve destroyed one more thing I love.

“I know,” she answers. Her attention returns to the television hanging in the corner of the room. Mom hates talk shows but that’s all she’s been watching since she was admitted. That and reality programs. I think it makes her feel better to see people who voluntarily have fucked up lives.

My cell phone pings in my pocket and I reach in with one hand to silence it. There’s no need to look at the display. I’m late for an appointment. And I don’t care.

“I have to go but I’ll be back tomorrow.”

She smiles when I kiss...