Warning: This work has been rated 16+.
"Go to sleep," you beg of him.
and pray as he closes his eyes
that, perhaps, this will be the eternal one.
Oh, you tell yourself it's for him,
that you don't want to see him in pain,
that you want him to have peace.
But he's sucking your life away
like it was in a juice box,
and he's that kid that squeezes
and slurps until there's nothing but
one single drop of purple grape juice
in that unreachable corner.
You hide that idea,
hide that black part of yourself,
the one everyone probably know about,
the one you tell yourself no one knows about.
You've been lying to yourself for seventy goddamn years.
What's another on the pile?
You sit beside him as his breathing,
never calm and easy anymore,
deepens and the only noise in the room
is the puffs of oxygen forced through his nose.
You hold his hand; you smooth his hair.
He always liked to look nice.
What if you go first? you wonder,
What if that last drop
of unnaturally purple juice
soaks through the cardboard
while it waits in the trashcan
before he slips away?
Would one of the kids,
the son down the road,
the daughter two hours away,
would one of them take him in
or would they throw him in a home
to forget about him?
He would die sooner in a home.
He would probably cry.
He would probably be confused more,
and no one would be there to comfort him
except for some washed up nurses
too tired to really care.
You sit there
as you have sat for months
beside him as he sleeps,
life forced down his nose.
No, not grape juice, but clear oxygen.
You hold his hand and straighten his hair.
And you pray,
harder than you have ever prayed,
and, ungrateful wretch that you are,
you pray a lot,
that his drop of grape juice
will soak through before yours.
Of course, his juice box
is in the hands of some psychopathic child,
the one who spears bugs with sharp sticks
alone in that corner of the playground
the teachers can't really see.
He watches the bugs squirm and wriggle.
He cuts the juice box,
greedy for that last drop.
Greedy, but patient.
He'll make sure every jerk lasts
until he can tip the mutilated box up
and guzzle the last bit.