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Planet of the Apes: 5

Wes Lee

David is making his rounds. I am on his beat. He's dispensing words like medicine in my room. His voice has that sing-song quality. The glossing over quality of people who are used to being in charge. His skin has absorbed the cheerful, clinical veneer of the other part of the hospital. The parallel universe that bustles, cajoles and jokes. His white coat, a shroud. His pen, a medal. Trying to make light of terror.

Eva tells me she will go travelling again. When I ask her where she'll go she speaks as if she had all the choices in the world.

"I don't know. Africa maybe."

I tell her that I can still feel Bunty pressed against my leg. Eva looks like she's going to cry. I start up the word game we used to play when we were children.

"A favourite word beginning with I?" We'd travelled through the alphabet a hundred times before we were nine years old.

"Inconsolable," she says, "what's yours?"

"Immanent." I say.

It's dark and I'm left alone. I've come to like the sound of technology.

Machines feeding and monitoring all around me. Providing me with the necessities of life. There is a familiar safety in the tubes and the dials. A preciseness in the science of nurturing. I'm so weak I can hardly lift my arm to put out the night-light beside the bed. I want to watch the machines in the dark. The lime green blips, the raspberry ripples of lights blinking. So regular. So constant. I take one last look at the photograph beside my bed. At the shadow puppy in my mothers eyes, waiting in the wings.


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