He was sitting on our front porch (as he is the 'du' to my 'plex') reading an e-book on his brand new phone.
Not unfamiliar with the readers of today's exodus from the real world myself, when he says things melt away, and the pages, or in this case e-pages, build walls between him and his immediate surroundings, I know to what extent he's referring to. Breaking from what could only be screen-induced eye strain, he looked up from the the downloaded version of 'Romeo and Juliet' and was shocked to find that a bird had ambled up to him, and from the looks of it was, for lack of a better phrase, half-dead.
The bird couldn't move his legs, but his head and wings were jerking about. Not knowing what to do, wanting to help, my friend scooped the bird into cupped hands and held it until it died. He said that at a few different points it seemed as if it would be okay, that it would just stand up and fly away. But then it's eyes would close and he said he almost felt the wind move from the bird into the air and all too quickly the universe had snatched it back. He then placed it under a bush outside his home, hoping nature would dispose of the bird in a more dignified fashion than we humans do with our boxes and our chemicals.
This story made me think about what last wishes I would have if I were injured and knew I were to die within the hour. As undoubtedly was the bird's case, it is likely I would try to find help and if help could not be provided, just a pair of hands to hold me as I faded. Just another living thing to witness my departure and to ease the inevitable loneliness in death.