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In the Morning Light

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When she walked into her new apartment for the first time, she burst into tears as a plethora of emotions rushed over her. Alone with Timmy in a city with which she was completely unfamiliar and where the only person with whom she was acquainted was the kind stranger who had met them at the bus depot and escorted them to the housing project, she considered her sparsely furnished new home.

“Well, like I said, I slapped her the first time when she was pregnant with Timmy. She must have been about six months or so along. It just . . . happened. Before I even knew what I was doing, I heard the sound of my hand slapping her cheek.” He sat for a moment, breathed heavily. “I’ll never forget that sound as long as I live. Which, according to the doctors here, won’t be much longer. And brings me to my first question.”

He stared out the window, considering the cloudless blue sky. From the bed in his third-story hospital room, he could see the tops of the trees in the parking lot below swaying softly with the light summer breeze. He wished that he could return to the marina, hose down the decks of his small vessel, and point its bow toward the San Francisco Bay. He would sail out to sea, allowing the wind to carry him and his boat in any direction it wished for as many days as he had left on earth.

He sighed deeply as he shifted his gaze back to the I.V. pole from which hung several plastic bags containing clear liquids. Three separate tubes carried the substances from the bags to his veins. He winced as he moved his left arm. Looking down, he noticed that a new bruise had developed where the nurse had unsuccessfully tried to reinsert the needle earlier in the day.


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