She had lost all of her skin and I feared I had helped make her last weeks an unrelenting horror show, until our chance reunion.

In my dreams she was a monster out of Greek mythology: eyes unseeing, skin flayed, mouth bleeding crimson; a howling mountain of pure pain made flesh that I alone was to face. I would awaken sweating before my 4am alarm, dreading the day's tasks, fighting bile and self-hatred on every step of my icy walk across the Charles River to the hospital. During the day, I was the monster, her torturer.

The innumerable injustices I