Torment the people.
Sparing the animals.
Watching idly, witnessing the agony, the dwindling, the diminishing. Starvation, dehydration, compounding torture.
Animals leave with dignity. A pinprick and a tearful goodbye.
While humans waste away. Prolonging their withered shells. Dignity? Gone, as we dole out the anguish. And wait.
These are thoughts that have been passing through my mind yesterday and today. I stopped by my student's home after school to drop off a card and some money the staff donated to the family. I wasn't going to go in. I had it all planned out. I didn't want to intrude. But they opened the door wide with big smiles. And they wanted me to meet Daddy. I didn't even hesitate. How could I say no? My first thought was, "He looks just like my mom did during her last two days." His face was drawn, his mouth open in an oval, in effort to breathe. His eyes were deep yellow, as his skin. He wore a diaper. His arm randomly reached upward in a jerking motion. He looked at me. "Hello, I'm your child's teacher. Your child is wonderful. You have a beautiful family." He looked at me. For an instant, his eyes strained to show that he understood, and that he appreciated.
Mommy handed me an 8 x 10 on printer paper, in a plastic sleeve. "This is what he looked like before he got sick. He's a good looking man."
Yes, he is. "You're a good looking man!" I smiled. Did he think I was being condescending, or did he think I was being friendly? Or did he think nothing at all, because all his brain could focus on was the fact that he was in misery and he hadn't eaten for five days or had water for three days?
"We'll take good care of your child. I promise you that. It was so nice to meet you."
And then we walked back into the living room. What do you say? "Goodbye?" When I return tonight with my student's favorite noodles and shrimp, I think he will be gone.
"Mr. Show, do you want some water? Would you like to sit down? When we move I will be getting rid of all of our things. What would you like? You can take any of it, for free. Do you need a TV? We have a very big one. No? How about plastic containers for your classroom? I will let you have all of these plastic bins. You'll be able to use them, right?"
A groan drew my attention back to the bedroom.
"Yes. I would love the containers. Thank you."
So tonight I order Chinese food. I will deliver it to my student's family. They will sit in the next room, or maybe around the bed, if it is still occupied, and eat noodles with chopsticks. At peace, but crying, but at peace. Eating noodles. Because they're my student's favorite food.
Not unlike how my mom lay dead in the next room. While we opened Christmas presents.