Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It wasn't right. Tom never healed completely after the surgery. A surgery he never should have had. Where's the nobility in giving up a part of you if the void kills you? Tom was perfectly healthy. It wasn't his accident--it was his brother's. And if it had happened before medicine considered itself advanced enough to transplant body organs, back when nature had more power to play its hand, Bill would have died and Tom would have watched helplessly. But nature was forced a different turn. Tom didn't even think about it. As soon as they told him Bill needed a kidney, he gave his. There was no question in his mind. If something was good and possible, Tom never thought about it. Good and possible always meant one thing: do it. But it wasn't Tom who would have to live a lifetime cursing the consequences of doing the possibly good. It was Bill. Tom's month-long deterioration after the surgery and eventual death drove deep the resentment Bill harbored for being alive. He knew he should have died. He was living with a dead man's kidney in place of his own--a dead man who had at least seventy healthy years left to live, had he not unwittingly given his kidney to his brother. And Tom was the better man anyway. Like Tom's unquestioning instinct to combine good and possible, Bill never questioned which one of the brothers was the better man. The world deserved Tom for longer, and it would have had him too, had nature not been crippled.

They said Tom would be just fine, that transplants of this sort happen all the time and both parties live out remarkably fine lives. Tom didn't live anything remarkable after that. And all anyone could tell Bill was that Tom's death should inspire him to live out a remarkable life for the both of them now. But Bill only felt like spooning Tom's kidney out of himself each day he awoke and remembered Tom should be alive and him dead.

No comments: