The old man’s breath rasped in his throat.
The familiar ceiling of his room stayed rose-colored still before his eyes. Close his eyes again, breathe in, breathe out. He traced the passage of the air as if savoring the act. Circulating blood streamed deep, quiet and crimson through the inflating, deflating alveoli that have been repeating this task for too long. Long ago it no longer brimmed the ardent limbs of his with energy the same way, nor surged through his brain carrying the impertinent rush of thoughts, judgments, feelings, emotions, things once long ago he fancied the only sign of living like none else was. Now inhale, exhale. Now, in no other whatever the bodily functions that he had left could he feel his life as in the simple act of breathing.
And he smiled, because he loved life.
Love. The word no longer prickled the inner corners of his eyes. It did that autumn of about five years ago. The dearest friend, with whom his only wish was to die on the same day, neverthele