I'm standing outside a morgue, bitten down nails digging into my palms as I wait to identify a body. A body that was found dead under an arch of wilting roses, laid as if it just decided to fall asleep right there. The cold draft dances down the long hallway as the cheap overhead lights flickers loudly. The doctor on duty taps his pen against his clipboard, reading the notes left by his predecessor in an ink as red as the blood in my veins. His attendant reads out the number at the top of the piece of paper before pulling open a drawer, the sound so loud it echoes in the hallway. Dark circles under my eyes, I long to run away. To leave this dreary place, run up those confusing flights of stairs and hide in one of the city's many chocolate cafes. The sound of the doctor's heels arrives before the double door is pushed open, a strangled version of my name escaping his throat. If the hallway outside was depressing, the morgue is suffocating. The smell of death, the sound of acceptance, the temperature of indifference and the sight of the body waiting for me is a pair of cold hands encircling my throat with evil intentions. Breath hitched, I take small steps that are in time with my scattered heart beat. My ears are deaf to the doctor's instructions but my body registers it. Start from the toes. Where a tag hangs from the toe. Slowly slide upward, to the bruises on the body's legs. Take a deep breath before moving on to the upper half. Fingers curled into palms, hiding the blue nails with rough knuckles. Behind me, the attendant and doctor stand in patience as my eyes take their time. Coldness creeps down my throat, the way a drink of hot chocolate would. But instead of warming up my insides, this cold spreads around my heart and waits patiently. So patiently. For the moment where my eyes would identify the face. A grip so tight over my heart, as my eyes filled with tears. Shaking my head, I press a fist against my heart while denial leaks from my lips. No no no no no no. My knees weaken but I hold on to the what I have left. With my eyes closed, I confirm the identity of the dead. Bruised and weakened, she had given up and laid down under the arch with no intention of waking up. With a fist over my heart, I whisper a goodbye and leave the room with shaky knees. Across the hallway, Dignity is waiting with a pale face. With a look at mine, he bends down, hands on his knees as he fights the urge to throw up. A heart beat. A dozen. A deep breath. He straightens and offers his arm. Taking it, I am led to the exit, the confusing staircase where he tells me to hold my head up high. "Dreams ran away, Courage turned tail and now, Hope has died." "I won't ever leave you." "Please don't. Dignity is all I have now."