She would want me to do this, if she had been left with any choices.
She would want it, because she would know - and maybe she does know - that I will do the most perfect job for her that can be imagined, every day and every night.
I will have the best people come in and bathe her, and clean her down, and put the tubes in when they need putting in and take them out without leaving a mark anywhere they can be seen.
They say that five tubes means the odds are against your walking out and I am sorry, but when she needs them, she has a lot more than five. We don't know though, and she has a history with the odds.
They change the Egyptian cotton sheets three times a day, and they turn her constantly and they anoint her skin and check every inch of it for the start of a sore. Sometimes they float her on currents of air - she used to float all on her own, but that does not seem to happen any more.
They massage her and they move her limbs and they stretch her and bend her - she has more perfect muscle tone now even that she did when she was moving and stretching and bending for herself. Watching them move her is like a poem, a sad poem with no ending.
Then that group goes and another comes in. They moisturise her skin and they pay attention to that tricky area in the corner of the eyes, which, I gather, is the first thing to go when you never move your face at all, just as it is when you move it too much.. They do for her all the things that she would do for herself - keep those eyebrows tidy and brush that perfect hair a hundred times. Three times a day.
Sometimes, but not every day, and never more than once a day, I go in and help with that part of it. I never liked her, but it is right that once in a while I should take a pair of tweezers and find a stray hair and tug. I would not do it if it could hurt her, because that would be mixed motives - my guess is that she will never feel anything again, and so I do it because it is right, and for beauty, and ...
Sometimes I brush her hair, a hundred times.
She never wore much paint and if she wore much paint now, it would look like they were painting a corpse for burial, but she is so pale, vampire pale, death pale, paler than me. She needs the colour in her cheeks that blood and the sun never put there. Just the hint of a blush. Her eyes are closed, most of the time, though sometimes they fall open, and they are bright as they ever were. They are so bright, and she is still not there.
They would be bright without eye-drops and without mascara on the perfect lashes around them. They would not stay bright forever without help, though, and help is here for her, every single day. Help from the artists I provide, and from Mr Mac and Mr Bobbi Brown.
I would help myself, but my hands would shake.
We dress her simply and classically - draperies of black or white that are never quite like a shroud. She always wore clothes well and now she wears them with still perfection.
I could stare at her wearing clothes for hours. And sometimes I lend her my best new shoes for a day. We had a thing about shoes, both of us, and she would want the feel of new shoes on her feet.
Each night that I can, and they must never know this, I go up as they change her into her night clothes, and I change the disc on the player, and I light incense or spray perfume and I hold lemon or honey or hot peppers near her nose, or near her lips. Just in case it helps her wake.
Once I am sure she will not, I kiss her once on the forehead and once on the lips and once on her folded hands. I am very good about this and I will never, I think, go further than this, to those pale perfect breasts or that cute navel or that interesting abdominal scar so like my own.
I tell myself that these are the kisses of a sister. And I lie.
The gods laugh quietly at both of us.
She is alive and I am dead, though neither of us is quite in the position that statement implies. She is still and I move around. Her heart beats and mine does not. She is my last doll and my last idol, and I am her last best friend.
I can worship her perfection for an hour at the end of the night and walk away, wrapping a silk scarf around my neck, which at her hands and my other lover's hands, is flawed and imperfect forever