They had just bought a home together, begun building a life. Now Ruth fights to live, while Lila fights to stay strong. In those brief moments of pseudo-clarity, Ruth is aware of her own fear. Dark tentacles embracing her, pulling her away from lucidity, survival. Yet inside that fear lives another, just as overwhelming–that Lila might leave her. Might not be up to the challenges that lie ahead. Will she be faced with the care of a disabled partner? Will she be able to pay the mortgage? Or even keep her own job? Will they ever make love again?
She is unaware that Lila has been sleeping at the hospital in an inhospitable chair, and wishing for things she cannot control. That she has been sending text messages to Ruth’s phone everyday, telling her how much she loves her. She is unaware that Lila has been wearing an article of Ruth’s clothing everyday, to feel close to her. And that she doesn’t care if Ruth isn’t the same, if she will only wake up.
Friends absorb the ramifications of such a plight and struggle with their own responses. Should they fling themselves into life? Live out loud? Do everything with passion and wild abandon, lest they too, find themselves dangling from the precipice? Or do they slow down, become careful, obsess about their health, create safety nets, avoid taking any chances with anything, ever?
With disturbing regularity, we are reminded of how tenuous life is. The closer we get to our own mortality, the more we fear it. The more we feel its hot breath on our necks, its unforgiving fingers on our pulse. And the more we wonder what lies ahead, and whether or not there will be someone to send us loving messages, wrap themselves in our clothes because they carry our scent, and keep a vigil at our bedside with a singular desire that we only open our eyes and become present with them again.
For in the summation, our lives are not about the material possessions we have, the money we make, or the status we enjoy. Our lives are about people. The ones we love, who love us in return. And that is all there is, and all that really matters.