Sickbed at Sunset

A cautionary tale.

Are you ill?

Yes. Can’t you tell?

Of course. You sound like hell. And yet––

What do you mean?

You look and sound about the same as usual.

What do you mean?

I mean, what good is health if you are only going to complain about it when you have it?

Do you need something?

I have needed many things.

Anything! Name it!

Really? From there?

You are very cold.

Not always. I had a fever and it almost killed me. But you were too distracted by various ailments of your perfect health, to notice.

I would do anything, I swear, I am about to––

Now I have quite a bit to do.

Of what?

The living.

Oh. But give me something better, something grand!

Sorry to disappoint you. This is it, only daily stuff. Tasks, food, lists, cleaning, and then cleaning up what others can’t bear to look at.

But anyone can do that. I have a purpose! Well, I wish I could––

Even the mock-purpose driven discount runs out at some point. Why not for you?

Well, the sun rises every morning––

The sun, yes. But for the rest of us, there’s no guarantee. 

That’s terrifying.

It should be. Enough to move a body to living, anyway. Still, many evade this––successfully, at least for a time.

But you need to understand––

A person can decide, consciously or unconsciously, that they are the living sun, endlessly rising and setting, emboldened with the powers of illumination and darkness, for all the world to see or wait to recover from. It’s very gratifying, apparently.


And who can blame you? It works until it doesn’t anymore. 

One day––

One day you will wait for the light that is coming, and you will know it isn’t you. And then you will be ready to begin. And if, when that day comes, you are alone, you will know that you will be okay. Not because you feel that you are, but because the power that made you what you were never is or was of you. 


Then you stand up.


Then you walk.

What now?

Visiting hours are over. Now get to listening. Your shoes are under the bed.