I sat with him. On a cold plastic chair. With an even colder stone in my stomach. It was all I could do.
I was terrified. It wasn't just from the noise of the machines that kept him alive. Or from the way I could barely respond to anything since it all happened. Even the hot coffee I was given was tasteless.
It was the way I gave up. In the police parking garage. In the ambulance. In the waiting room when the doctor came to tell me how bad off my partner was.
They were the only words I heard. The doctor's voice sounding odd and distant.
It wasn't in the arctic white chill of this room's bare walls. Or the way those walls forced their way into me; making me feel completely numb from head to toe.
It wasn't in the way my partner lay utterly passive. Lapsed into black oblivion.
It was in the way I couldn't keep him safe.
In the way I let my emotional pain and fear keep me from him.
In the way I wrote him off the minute I rounded the Torino -- as if I were the shadow of death.