Calvin lay in his hospital bed, noises all around.
He could hear his children, but his eyes wouldn’t open, his mouth wouldn’t move. He knew they were there. He could still squeeze their hands, when they took his and spoke to him. But that was all.
The smell of the hospital filled his lungs, the smell of antiseptic fighting against the smell of illness. He would have preferred to be at home, but that would have been a lot on the kids.
His partner had died some months ago. Calvin had been adjusting to life without him, but when you get old enough, the lines blur, between whose life is whose, who should end and who should carry on. Calvin’s body had decided to end. His mind had too, some part of it, even if the part in the front wasn’t so certain.
Breathing was becoming harder. There were occasional injections to help with the pain, and they could give him a breathing tube to help him carry on, but he had forbidden that back when he could still do so. He knew when the time came, best to let it come. He occasionally wished otherwise, but then remembered the alternative – artificial life was hardly living. If he couldn’t be conscious any longer, why remain a burden?
He could hear the kids notice his slow breathing. He heard them start to cry. He wished he could comfort them, as he had so many times when they were young, growing up, in their adulthood when things were difficult. A tear formed at his eye, but he couldn’t wipe it.
Calvin took his last breath. His body didn’t struggle. He knew that everything else would stop soon, but his mind had a few seconds left. He pondered what would be next, if anything. Either way, he thought, time for adventure.