Out of the haze and fog of his ninety-nine year old mind he could barley hear them talking. "If he hangs on for another month he'll reach one hundred.", as if that is an accomplishment that is a reward for something you did instead of being lucky enough to inherit good genes and avoid getting run down by some idiot driving a run-away car. He could have opened his eyes but that would have tipped them off that he was awake, cognizant and he would have to pay attention to them; something he didn't really want to do. What he did want was another shot of morphine to ease the pain and let him drift into that realm which allowed him to relive the parts of his life he so missed. He let out a soft groan because he knew that it always got their attention and they'd give him another shot. It was called pain management. He would hear them talking, "If he'd only take care of himself he wouldn't be in this shape now.". This shape now meant a body full of cancer that gave him a constant pain like root canal without Novocaine. What the hell did they want? He was nine-nine and never had any-one stick their finger or a tube up his rectum. He never had to take that laxative that had you emptying your bowels for a day or two. He never had to have a catheter stuck up his penis, that is until now and at least he escaped it all by 98%. Ninety-nine, long enough to live, now it was time to check out, and he beat the medical community by holding out. He always considered the modern Doctors alien to the old ones who made house calls and got to know you and at least seemed to really care if you felt pain or were frightened. Today they barely look at you while they prescribe different treatments not really caring how invasive or embarrassing they were. Hell, he even refused chemo! Sure, try for a few years more while you puke up your guts and everyone can't wait for you to pass because just looking at you is like looking at their own mortality square in the eye.
They're giving him the shot, the morphine. The sounds are receding into an echo chamber into pitch blackness, sweet solitude where he can revisit parts of his life he misses so much. As he's receding into that bliss he notices a bright light out of the corner of his mind's eye but suddenly he's sixty years younger in his backyard yelling to his wife. "Where the hell is Sammy? I let him use the garage as a clubhouse and I find a bottle of Rum half empty trying to be hidden.". Things are jumbled and he is facing Sammy who tells him that he isn't really drinking, he just needs a shot when he comes home from high school to loosen up. Loud raucous laughter follows, and the scene fades into one where he is holding his wife in his arms and tasting her lovely red lips with their saliva mixing, the softness of her body is wonderful and he never wants to let go for being with her is really all he wants. Then everything morphs into the whole family being at the Bronx Zoo in the petting farm animals area. Gabriel was petting this Llama when the bird all of a sudden reached down and grabbed his hair and pulled. Gabe started to cry they all laughed which caused Gabe to run at him and start punching. His wife was waiting for an explosion from him knowing his temper and his insistence that his children respect him but instead he was doubled up in laughter as he marveled at Gabe's tenacity and spirit.
Images started to enfold one on top of the other and he saw himself with his daughter who was a premi, so tiny, looking at him every day from the incubator where she had to stay until she hit the required weight as he stopped by the hospital before going home. Then he saw her at home sucking her finger while she held onto his thumb. She was the first of his that he wasn't afraid to hold which seems strange sice she was the most fragile. Slowly the images began to fade and he was travelling through the darkness, yet there was this bright light that seemed to be in the distance.
He was back in the present time, ninety-nine and his whole body aching and his mind wishing for another shot of morphine. He could hear them talking. He guessed his children and some grandchildren were there waiting for him to make that final journey. God, they had gotten so old, even his grandchildren. He missed their youth so much. They had the aches and pains he once had and some were getting a little slow witted, hopefully not from advancing age. When they were young, when he and his wife were really relevant, when the world was young and every sunrise offered new opportunities and adventures, is what he wanted. Yet he knew that was what he had, it was good but never to be recaptured. It was time to move on. He let out a long groan and he got his shot of morphine and started to drift back to the times his mind kept in his special place for enjoyment.
As he drifted into darkness everything was black. He was frightened. Then he heard that beautiful voice he hadn't heard for more than a quarter of a century and he saw a glimmer of a light that started to get brighter as the voice became stronger, he wasn't sure if he was just drifting or it was really happening, but the voice said "We've been waiting for you and she wants to give you a big kiss."