До свидания.

Last night’s nightmare:

I am sitting with a friend. Someone nearby has a dog who just broke its leg. Someone has called Doggie 911, and a veterinary ambulance is on its way. We wait for it.

My friend suddenly turns very pale and stares silently into space. She slowly falls backwards, but I catch her. She looks like she’s in shock. Her body is tense, but light as a feather, and I gently guide her to the ground. Her pupils are dilated and still. She isn’t breathing.

I call for help. The dog-owner reminds me that the doggie ambulance is on the way, and that it’ll do just fine—after all, he says, she just fainted. I yell at the dog-owner to call the real 911 before I kill him.

I hope to resuscitate her, but when I put my hand behind her neck I can tell that it is broken. I don’t know whether her neck somehow broke while she was sitting, or if I inadvertently broke it when I caught her. Did it sever the spinal cord? How high up?

I’m almost afraid to try mouth-to-mouth. I don’t want to jostle her head, and I’m afraid that the chest compressions will damage her spinal cord even further. But the fact is that she’s going to suffocate unless I start CPR.

She has a sad look on her face, like she’s about to cry. I wait a few seconds for tears, or a whimper, but there’s nothing. I listen for breath, even though I already know she isn’t breathing. I check her pulse—there is none. I do the breaths, I do the compressions for what seems like forever. She’s perfectly still throughout.

The doggie ambulance arrives. Its arrival just makes me angry. It is utterly useless. The vets simply stand behind me and watch. I scream at them to call the real 911 and make sure that real paramedics are on the way. I go back to the breaths and compressions.

Eventually, the tension leaves her body. Her eyes still stare straight ahead, but they are void of life. She never even trembled. She simply ended.

There’s nothing left to be done. The ambulance still hasn’t arrived. I sit and look at her and she is as prim and proper as a porcelain doll.