With morning came visitors. An hour after the Colonel left, resident stoner Hank Walsten dropped by to offer me some weed, which i graciously turned down. Hank hugged me and said "At least it was instant. At least there wasn't any pain."
I knew he was only trying to help, but he didn't get it. There was pain. A dull endless pain in my gut that wouldn't go away even when I knelt on the stingingly frozen tile of the bathroom, dry-heaving.
And what is an "instant" death anyway? How long is an instant? Is it one second? Ten? The pain of those seconds must have been awful as her heart burst and her lungs collapsed and there was no air and no blood to her brain and only raw panic. What the hell is an instant
? Nothing is instant. Instant rice takes five minutes, instant pudding an hour. I doubt that an instant of blinding pain feels
Was there time for her life to flash before her eyes? Was I there? Was Jake? And she promised, I remember, she promised to be continued, but I knew, too, that she was driving north when she died, north toward Nashville, toward Jake. Maybe it hadn't meant anything to her, had been nothing more than another grand impulsivity. And as Hank stood in the doorway, I just looked past him, looking across the too-quiet dorm circle, wondering if it had mattered to her, and I can only tell myself that of course, yes, she has promised. To be continued.
John Green, Looking for Alaska.