The long wait
by Cecile Cristofari
"It depends on what you feel is right for her," the lady said. "Social security can buy something short and painless. Of course you need to make all the necessary arrangements...."
"What about long and painless?"
The words came out sharper than Eva intended. It still stung to hear that woman offer in a soothing voice to kill her mother. She took a long breath.
"I'm sorry. You must get that all the time."
The lady just smiled, not as warmly as Eva hoped. That must be a tough job.
"Your mother won't suspect anything," the lady said. "She won't believe it if she's told. We can make that six months, if you can cover the additional fee. Only allow me to advise you against it. Six months is long enough for you to start hoping she'll recover. She won't. We're sorcerers, not gods."
"Six months is good enough," Eva said.
A week later, the diagnostic was confirmed beyond hope. Her mother would never leave her coma. As Eva returned from the shop, her legs felt like lead. Inside a little black box, she held six precious months of life--a frail sickly life, in an easy chair on the terrace, but a life still, where her mother would be awake and still know her, before that day in six months when she would go to sleep with a smile and never wake up. She would die in the summer, lulled out by cicadas.
Eva wondered if she could ever think about it without crying. Every day that went by had better be the best in the world. Half a year could race by so quickly when taken up by menial things. Eva couldn't even imagine her daily life without worry, doctors and cures. But no--she'd never manage to stop worrying. Nor could she stop hoping.
She raised her eyes just in time to jump aside. A horn screamed. Metal crashed. A blow to her stomach cut her breath and sank her to her knees. Then she met her eyes.