How could I have known it would be like this? His hands, useless, running up and down the sheet that twisted up as if it knew better than him how it should lie on the bed. Those hands that used to run up and down my body with the sheet on the floor so there would be more freedom to move and explore.

A black cylinder with a button on top he was instructed to push when the pain got too bad. He couldn’t find the cylinder hidden inside the sheets, much less the fucking button. They told me I wasn’t allowed to push the button. I figured out how to make the alarm on my cell phone ring every fifteen minutes all night so I could place the thing in his hand and yell, “Push the button,” while he feebly tried, moaning in his pain. I yelled, “Push harder,” until the beep told us the medicine was flowing again into his veins. He yelled the same thing when I was coaxing our daughter out of my body. “Push harder.”

“Ice,” he whispered. I fed him small chips one at a time from a cardboard cup and wondered where the nurse was.

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