Sylvia and Pietro Salk
27th June: Pietro Salk has now passed away.
How can this be? My heart has stopped beating, and still, here I am. I'm breathing. I'm alive. How can you live without a heart? My Pietro is lying in a hospital bed, silent and still, so unlike him. He was always moving, always talking - even when he slept, he would mutter occasionally. He could not remain still, he was always seeking. This is what led him to his work at the Perplex City Sentinel, I suppose. The only truth I know is that he is lying in a hospital bed, silent and still, and I am not. It is this rest come at last to the restless that tells me my Pietro is gone, gone.
The doctors say he is in a coma. I came upon him at our home Monday night; he had been working at home, as usual, and I had brought in dinner from Calla's, as usual. But when I came home, the door was open and there Pietro was, in his office, gasping for air, his eyes open but unseeing. His key had detected his distress, and emergency services arrived seconds after I did.
They whisked us away to the hospital and told me, oh so formal. 'Mrs Salk, there is nothing we can do,' they said. 'It appears his brain has shut down nearly all of its higher functions,' they said. 'We can wait and see what develops, but the outlook is not good,' they said. It was too soon to grieve, too soon to feel anything. When he woke on Wednesday, fireworks of joy bloomed all around me. He looked straight at me and smiled his same old smile, and my heart began to beat again. This was the fool's solve, and I fell for it hard. He looked around the room, but he saw nothing. I spoke, but he did not answer. Then his eyes fell upon his key, there on the side table, and he leapt for it. Once his hands were on it, he simply began to work. Nothing else. He would not speak, he would not eat, nor sleep, I think if he could have avoided it he would not have breathed. If anyone came close, he concealed his work and snarled at them like some feral dog until they left him again.
After so many long hours of work, he ceased as suddenly as he had begun. He looked up, smiled at me just once, and then he was not there. The key slipped out of his hands and to the floor.
Now, the doctors say, there is no hope for him. 'There is hardly any brain activity left now,' they say. 'It is only a matter of time,' they say. 'We are very sorry,' they say.
My Pietro is lying in a hospital bed. How can 'sorry' be enough? 'Sorry' is what you say when you spill your drink on the table. There are no words to say to someone whose heart has stopped beating. So now. Now we have this thing that Pietro made, that you can read about on the sidebar. It may be a last message to me, it may be the cracked raving of a dying mind, I don't know. My brother tells me it requires the use of inertial sensors, and he will give me one that doesn't in a few days. Either way I can't bring myself to look at it, this thing that Pietro did instead of telling me good-bye.
Somebody, anybody, if you can make sense of this madness, I need to know. How do you continue living when your heart has stopped beating?