All Left to Be Done

Randall waited, as he always did for the crowd to disperse. The doctor, full of fatigue and some unspoken heaviness, pronounced the moment of death, a speck of precision amidst the vast uncertainty of the hereafter. The nurses retreated, so much to do, so many things to be done. The chaplain escorted the widow out with practiced concern and sympathy.

Big hands, too clumsy for fine work, began their task. As per his usual, Randall marveled at the array of machines and vials of medicine. Despite working in the ER as an orderly for nearly ten years he still understood so little of what the professionals did. His mind just didn’t work that way.

The tube slid effortless from the stilled throat. IVs came effortlessly from beneath cooling skin. Tape reluctantly gave up its grasp. Electrodes left gummy imprints of their futile presence.

Randall had no idea what any of it had been for, but he could remove it with some sense of respect, a proper deference. It wasn’t much, but it was all he could do.

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