His breath is labored and he’s wheezing a high pitched whistle through his lungs. I can see his chest rise and fall below a pale blue gown. If he had the choice he would not have picked this color or pattern. He was more of a dark blue and charcoal gray kind of guy. The skin on his forearms still caramel in color and freckled with sun spots. His cheeks and limbs swollen from fluid that doesn’t want to leave his body. Mouth open. Lips dry. Sand paper tongue. Furrowed brow. I lean over him and whisper in his ear, "do you want some water?" Eyes still closed, under his breath he mutters ‘no’ and puts his hand out waving it. I ruffle through my bag and find the chapstick, 'Aha!' and spread it across his lips. He presses his lips together. Like velvet again. I lean over him and whisper in his ear, "I love you". Beneath a wheeze he whispers back, "I love you, too hun". I take his curled up swollen hands, unfurl them and drop a dallop of lotion in the middle of his palm and massage it through his fingers. I take a pair cuticle scissors out of my bag and with deliberate care I trim the long pieces of his eyebrows and a few from his ear lobes. I massage the space between his brows and caress his forehead as he sleeps. Inhale. Wheeze. Inhale. Wheeze. He looks as if he’s in conversation with someone moving his mouth around and making familiar facial expressions of concern, confusion, and at times he appears delighted. There’s water gurgling from the oxygen bottle dangling above his head. Mumbled sports talk from the TV speaker in the remote lying across his chest. He still remembers my name. He smiles when he opens his eyes. He sips juice from a straw. He’s an infant. He still loves his sugary sweets. Orange sorbet melts across his tongue hydrating him. He can’t find the words on but his face says it all. His longing. His fight. His light. His laughter. He conducts a symphony in his tired eyes. Dispells ghosts of the past with the wrinkles in his cheeks. Makes way for new birth in his labored breath. Applauding the mariachi band with his tapping feet. What’s he doing in there? What game is he playing? Who is he talking to? What’s it like to be free? How much fun is he having? What mischief is he up to now?