get well soon
i have found myself hanging out in hospitals
machines that make beeping noises. attempts for air that seem strained.
the fluorescent lights from above, instant sleep stealers. tired eyes. the kind that make you look like you're 100 years old.
gentle rain falls from the city sky. purple and blue lights blink against darkness, casting slick bright shadows on the road. the colored glows belonging to food trucks, LED words like gyros, flashing over and over again.
my boots click against the floor as i make my way through the lobby. i am out of the cold, but a chill still runs through me. i pull my scarf closer around my neck. in between my fingers is a ring. i take it off and then put it back on, before twirling it, round and round. druzy quartz and moonstone. it is supposed to be magical. it is supposed to protect me.
but here in this building, i am not shielded. i am not safe. not removed from the truth of what goes on in places like these or what happens to people like this.
when we enter the room, he is sleeping. mouth wide open and in the shape of an o. skin, a greyish sort of tone. he looks dead, i whisper to my sister. i know, she says back.
the nurse asks us if we can wait outside. give us five minutes. we agree, walking by the other rooms, peeking in on other patients who are hoping to get well soon.
will he get well soon?
when five minutes have passed, we head back. his roommate is an older man, one who whispers out words to his wife. there is some kind of book on the edge of the bed. it is black and as i look more closely, the hebrew symbols come into focus. even though there is only a curtain in between us, i can barely hear them speak.
he is slowly waking up now. we say hello, delivering kisses to his cheek. his voice is scratchy, being stretched to talk as we catch up. i wait for him to act surprised, but it never arrives. at first, it makes me concerned. does he think i always live here now? i say silently to myself. upon further investigation, i realize what has happened- someone told him i was coming.
there underneath the yellow hue, i sit against the window. staring through the glass, i take in sidewalk sights from down below. and then my attention goes back towards him, back towards the room. i am swept up by air filling into the blood pressure machine. the zig zag lines on the screen above. numbers and vital signs. pills in little white cups. a scene that was once so known to me.
silence within the sound
sometimes i worry that my own medication is taking away from my creativity. it most certainly takes away from my memory. if someone asks what i did two days ago, it feels like a struggle.
i can't remember
when we lose things, we begin to finally understand what they mean to us. brains and bodies. stories. the ones that belong to us and the ones that never did. memories that only exist if certain parts stay attached. a cluster of neurons, holding life as we know it, together.
i say goodbye to him, another kiss on the cheek. i say goodbye to the nurse and his roommate and the roommate's wife. i pass by more nameless faces as i move through the hallway. i remember only what i need for the night. moving out onto the street, where the sounds are different. sounds that are familiar because this is home, even though my real home is so far away.