Author : Bill Lombardi

Troy sat by his bedside. Watching.

Hours past and then Jon’s eyes slowly opened. “I’m thirsty.” His voice wavered, his strength beginning to ebb.

Troy poured him a glass of water and stood by him holding the straw. He took several sips. Coughed. Troy wiped his chin. Soon he was asleep again. Troy sat and waited.

When he awoke next he asked, “Is it day”?

“No. It is night.”

“Can you see the stars?”

Troy went to the balcony doors, drew the curtain and opened them. He looked up at the moonless sky. “There are many stars.”

“Can you see the Big Bear?”

“You mean the Great Bear. Yes.”

“I remember lying in the field out back at night naming as many constellations as we could.”

“And you were always incorrect.”

Jon laughed weakly which led to another bout of coughing. Troy moved to his side and helped him sit up until it passed and then he gently laid him back down.

“You’ll stay with me?”

“Of course.”

“I don’t know why I ask. We’ve been together for as long as I can remember.”

He placed a cool hand across Jon’s forehead and soon he was asleep again – and the ever present Troy sat and waited.

Several days passed and he never woke again.

They came and took him and Troy watched from the window as the vehicle pulled away. All of Jon’s things had been packed and removed. Only Troy was left. He looked around at the empty rooms and on the floor in a corner was an image. He picked it up. It was of the two of them when they had visited China. On the Great Wall. They both stood backs against a turret, blue sky above. Troy remembered that day. They had walked and seen as much as they could while the sun still shone. Taking images. Troy folded it and placed it in the pocket of his pants and then went to stand by the door. The service would be by soon to wipe his memory and shut him down. He looked around at the empty rooms again. And waited.

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