It takes fourteen minutes and twelve seconds to walk to your home from mine every day. Your mother never fails to smile at me when she opens the door. I never fail to notice that it doesn’t reach her eyes anymore.
You always leave your door open an exact two point three centimeters. I don’t think you do it on purpose. There is something wrong with the wood that has left it that way. I pause one foot outside the door and listen to you cough, trying to determine how sick you feel today. I hate that every time I think you are particularly ill, I am always right.
Six months, seventeen days and fourteen hours. That is how long its been since the doctors told us you had an illness. I sat there with your parents, listening to a man who said words like ‘terminal’ and ‘leukemia’, and counted the number of times he said ‘patient’ as if it were your name (I never hated the number seventeen more).
The blood bank says one unit is four hundred and fifty milliliters and I watch as they put the needle into my arm to pump out the blood into a little plastic bag. It takes five minutes twenty one seconds, because I’m holding my arm so tight. If I could give you all my blood so you could feel better for just a day, I would.
It has been seven days, twelve hours and fourteen minutes since the ambulance came for you. Six days, fifteen hours and seven minutes since the doctors told us they couldn’t help you anymore. I am counting the dots on your hospital gown, my body wrapped around yours, trying to pretend this is a bad dream, that we are going to wake up and your skin will no longer be paper thin, and your eyes will not be so hollow…so empty of the thousand colours I once counted in them.
You say noisily, a laugh escaping your parched mouth, that I am obsessed with numbers as I count out . I want to tell you you’re wrong. My obsession isn’t the numbers. My obsession is you. I say nothing. Because this is the first time you have laughed in one month, three weeks and two days.
Did you know that there is a theory which states when someone dies their body weight drops suddenly? It is not really noticeable unless you have held them close whilst they are dying, praying to every God listening that you won’t lose them. It is just a touch. The weight of three pencils. But it’s there when they leave you.
21 grams. That is the weight of a human soul.