Emphysema, they told him. Eyes twinkling, he chuckled with charming nonchalance (gasping for air when he did), because that was his style, and because he already knew. “Tell me something I don’t know,” he said after the chuckle, although the panic in his gut said, “This is no joke.”

They put him on all that shit, and gave him oxygen to suck on, and advised him of the things that he must give up. He gave up the shit and kept the rest. Yeah, there was unbearable pain every day and hour, but it was the loneliness and regrets who were the killers.


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