I’m lost in these halls. Pain makes more effective walls than steel or concrete.
Each doorway is a small politeness. We must knock before entering. Death itself serves at a shrine of manners.
I was carried in here, of course. I never walk. The world is a constant storm to brains like mine; fluorescent lights are just matches to a fuse.
The night worker looks questions at me as I wander past. I wasn’t sleeping at home, either. No, I don’t remember what happened.
I don’t see that it matters which room I return to; they are designed to be identical, as are the patients. I also can’t remember which room is mine.
Hospital rooms are never ours. We belong to them, for a time.
I find a soda machine. It takes credit cards. I have mine. I get a soda. I sit down on a sofa to drink it.
Now I’m in a bed, inside a room, a Dr. Pepper in a bottle on the table next to me; I remember thinking that it would be the most medicinal of all the soda choices, if only by name. I’m not sure how I got back to this bed.
There seems to be a considerable amount of pain in the room. I’m not entirely sure who is feeling it, however.
There is a beautiful woman sitting in a chair next to me. She looks sad.
She’s holding one of my hands.
She stands and kisses me on my forehead. You weren’t here when I got back. You can’t just leave me like that. You can’t just disconnect yourself from your monitors.
I have been doing that most of my life, I say.
You were asleep in the break area.
And that sounds like the rest of my life.
When I wake up again, it is light outside. She is asleep in the chair. The room is cold. There is another bed in the room, but whoever the occupant was, is gone. Whoever the occupants were, I guess I should say. These beds transport many, many souls.
As do these rooms. As have these halls.