A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra:
“For eight and a half months he cared for her with paternal devotion. But each morning as he set the teacup on the nightstand, he wondered if physical depravation might revive her ailing mind, and so, ten days before Dokka lost his fingers, Akhmed left her teacup in the kitchen. As the day wore on she called his name in cries more confused and desperate with each iteration, until his name was no longer his but a word of absolute anguish. Unable to stand the call of his name, he stayed with Dokka’s wife and daughter for three nights. On the fourth morning he returned and found her on the bedroom floor. The beginnings of bedsores reddened her shoulder blades. In that moment he came to understand that he would spend the rest of his life atoning for the past three days, and that the rest of his life wouldn’t be long enough. He lifted her from the floor and set her beneath the sheets. He took her glass of water from the kitchen, then five more. “You never have to get up again,” he promised her. He laid his head on her chest and her heart pattered against his temple. “Akhmed,” she said. “Akhmed.” His name was now a lullaby.