The House Call
Are you dying?
Are you lying?
That’s not what the doctor says.
The doctor said you’re dying.
I heard him.
Tell me the truth. Are you dying?
No, love. I’m not.
Are you sure?
Then why does the doctor say you are?
Because he’s a smart man, a man who knows what the human body can and cannot do. He understands the breathing of the lungs and the beating of the heart. He knows what books have told him and professors have taught him.
So he’s right, then?
No. He’s wrong.
But you said he knows what the human body can and cannot do.
He says you have days, at best.
I know what he says and he’s right. I do have days.
Then, you are dying?
No, I’m not. Do me a favor. Close your eyes.
Can you still hear me?
Do you still know I’m beside you?
Am I alive or dead?
How do you know?
Because you’re talking to me. You’re sitting next to me. I can feel you there.
Do you feel me only when I’m in the same room you are?
When else can you feel me near you?
I can feel you when I wear your jacket. The one mom calls a letterman. It’s big and wraps around me the way you do when you hug me.
If my heart wasn’t beating, would you still feel me when you put that coat on?
I don’t know.
Let’s see then. Put it on.
This is silly.
Old men usually are. Put it on.
Can you feel me?
How about now?
Yes. Nothing’s changed.
Open your eyes. Has anything changed?
You’re not in the room with me anymore.
Can you see me?
No. You’re behind the door standing in the hallway. Can you hear me?
Yes. The walls are thin.
Can you feel me?
Yes, just like a hug.
Okay then. Let me ask you again. If my heart stopped beating at this very moment, would you still feel me?
I don’t know. How could I know that?
Can you right now?
Yes, but your heart is beating. I can still hear you when you call me. You’re just behind the door.
Death is only a door, my dear, and the walls between you and me will always be thin.
But you’re not dying. You said so yourself.
I know and I didn’t lie. I’m not dying. I’m just leaving the room. I am simply stepping into another hallway where you can’t see me, like the one I’m standing in right now. I am not dying, just leaving the room.
The doctor is here.
Leave the door open for him, love.
You can go in if you want, Dr. Holmes.
But he’s already left the room.
❤️ Like Baby Bear Soup