The Question of the Year

By Daniel Hernandez

I should have stayed up with him that night. I'd pay two hundred dollars just to go back and put my arm around his shoulder and provide a glass of water and words of comfort until the morning, the hour when checking into the hospital would be less dramatic. If only I'd been less callous I would have gotten him to see a doctor months earlier. He had complained for that long about unusual pains throughout his entire body.

"If only," I say – but they warned us about the "if only" trap – you can "if only" yourself to death, they said. Everyone wishes they could have caught the disease earlier. Everyone would have acted more sensitive, had they known. All I can do, they say, is try and recognize how to act the next time tragedy strikes. The next time warning signs arise.