Mo GuanShan never liked hospitals.
Well, after all, like all normal people, or at least he thought so.
The smell of disinfectant, the incessant noises, the general atmosphere.
Yet in recent weeks he had spent days and nights in a small room with a single bed and white walls. Age began to weight on him, and taking public transport made it an inconvenient and tiring journey. The nurses had not protested and had let him sleep on one of the chairs, but every now and then they whispered and they seemed moved by that strong friendship that certainly bound those two elderly people.
The irony of life is that the harder it is to live it, the more things outside it become simple.
He Tian had said several times that he wanted to go home, that the hospital disgusted him. But the simple truth was that at home they didn't have what they needed and in his cowardice, Mo GuanShan still tried to hold on to the smallest hope.
Time in the hospital has something distorted. There are moments when it never pass, others instead where it slips away from your fingers without you being able to realize it.
Mo GuanShan is tired, his back hurts, yet he can't move, he doesn't want to move.
He Tian is motionless on his bed. He’s sleeping.
He sleeps more often and longer.
The pillow merges with his white hair.
In some nights he wakes up shouting Mo GuanShan’s name and doesn’t calm down until he looks straight into Mo GuanShan’s eyes, for long minutes, as if it were increasingly difficult to recognize him under the wrinkles and the signs of aging.
There are days when he wakes up from another time and then starts to ask him about school, homework, part time jobs. And Mo GuanShan responds as if only a day has passed since their teenage years ended.
But then He Tian frowns, looks around, looks at his thin and wrinkled hands, and with sad eyes and tears ready to gush out, he asks forgiveness from Mo GuanShan, again and again, until he goes back to sleep.
Mo GuanShan had fallen asleep.
It was cold outside, it was snowing,
He Tian's slow and silent breathing had been his lullaby for many years now, and despite the place it still had the usual effect on him.
Something wakes him up, a feeling ... a whisper in the neck.
He looks up and He Tian's steel eyes are staring at him.
Mo GuanShan approaches him, and whispers «Can't you sleep?»
He Tian's gaze is attentive and Mo GuanShan has learned to recognize it, it’s one of those increasingly rare lucid moments.
He Tian blinks slowly «Are you tired?» he asks.
Mo GuanShan shakes his head, frowning as usual despite all those years «I can handle it».
He Tian is still staring at him when he moves his hand.
It’s a slow, calculated movement, enough to make his hand slip out of the sheets, raised in mid-air.
Mo GuanShan doesn’t wait even a second and holds it gently in his.
He Tian smiles, sadly «I'm always surprised you chose me»
Mo GuanShan's eyes are shiny, his voice broken with sobs that tries to hold back «And I always will».
One of the few advantages of old age is that it is easier to be honest.
Mo Guan Shan slowly bends over He Tian and kisses him softly.
He Tian smiles with his eyes closed. He's holding back tears.
Mo GuanShan, with a slightly shaking hand, moves his hair from He Tian's forehead. Embarrassment is a little harder to die and his heart is still beating fast. But it's something he doesn’t mind anymore, because it was something that only He Tian could do on him.
And he loves it.
He loves him.
Mo GuanShan nods «Sleep now»
He Tian is still smiling when he holds his hand tight for the last time.
The morning arrives sunny and magnificent.
Mo GuanShan opens his eyes and as always in the last sixty years the first thing he sees is He Tian's face.
But it's different this time.
And it will never be the same as before.
He was gone.
Mo GuanShan does not hold back the tears as he squeezes He Tian’s shoulder, as he arranges his hair, as he kiss his forehead.
He gets up from his chair and his serious gaze clashes with the river of tears that wet his cheeks.
He leaves the room. He’s not sure of what he’s supposed to do. Suddenly the world had completely changed.
There’s too much silence now.
There's too much space now.