They hover over me and peer down and say, yes, maybe it’s time. The lights behind envelope them in a honey glow, wrapping around their figures making them indistinct and unfinished; a study started at the eyes, with great attention, but as the sketcher continued they grew bored and sloppy. These benevolent ones evaporate into the beams, scattering into the world that I know exists but cannot confirm. Their eyes, so kind and gentle, grasp onto me and wait. I watch them watching me and I have no clue what they want.
We know you’re strong enough, they say, we’re going to take it out. Their eyes squint tighter, yes, they say, it’ll all be fine. They confer among themselves, their arms swimming around in the golden pool, until one of them breaks away and reaches down. A finger brushes my face as a fist grasps at the tube. Oh, and I can feel it snaking through my windpipe as they pull. No, not yet, I think, you can’t take it yet. Those mechanical gusts sustain, methodically filling me up. Whoosh. Pause. Pause. Whoosh. But now they’re taking that away from me, and what then?
One being reaches down and pats my forehead, shhhh. They’re trying to silence me, calm me, tranquilize me. They say I’ll be fine, it’s just a momentary discomfort. And for the life of me, or for the death of me, I don’t know if I’ll be able to adjust. It’s been so long under the spell of the machine that I don’t know if I’m remembering or forgetting. The tube is out now, the world awaits. No more metronomic assistance. No more rest. Maybe I’m coming back. Maybe I’m leaving.