Richar A Fields, Jr
Decatur, Georgia - Accounting
I stood up against the wall, my mind in a thousand places, staring at
the distorted reflection of myself in the double metal doors.
Physically, my face appeared as it always had (long, smooth skin, sleepy
brown eyes, and full lips decorated with a pattern of hairs) but there
was something missing. There was no life to it. It was simply an empty,
expressionless countenance. I wondered if that was what she would see
when I looked into her eyes.
The light continued jumping from one
bubble to the next, until it found its place and glowed in bubble number
fourteen. The rising sensation came to a halt, and the double doors
parted, splitting my image and revealing a short hallway. I filed off
the elevator in line and followed the people ahead of me.
It was cold. The floor, the walls, my
body; everything. They had decorated the walls with pretty, colorful
pictures painted by innocent children, but the portraits somehow failed
to give me any feelings of comfort and joy. Foreign smells disagreeable
to my senses flowed into my lungs like smoke every time I inhaled, and
it made me want to breathe through my mouth. I glanced into the corner
at a tall, plotted plant, and decided that it must have been the only
true sign of a free, flourishing life in the entire place. Everything
else was locked away in those cells, alone and dying.
I was still gazing at the creation of
Mother Nature when a young, attractive lady clad in scrubs passed behind
me. I looked up and saw that everybody was following her, and
involuntarily my feet began to proceed in the direction of the crowd.
When the door was opened, I couldnít
see her at first because other people were blocking my view, so I waited
for everyone else to get situated. The short, light skinned woman sat
down in a chair beside the bed, the towering dark man stood up beside
her, and the skinny girl leaned up against his bulky frame. I walked
around to the other side of the bed, and took a seat in a green leather
chair. All of the furniture was now occupied.
It was dark outside, and the small TV
on the ceiling was playing old re-runs of ďGood Times.Ē
ĎAinít that some shit,í I thought to myself, and then quickly asked for
forgiveness inside my head. I always felt like I was in the presence of
something holy when I was around her. I loved her for that.
There was a sink and counter with
various cleansing materials (obviously for the doctors because she could
not get up to use them), an old tray of food, and a vase with purple
flowers shooting out of its mouth. That made me smile. She had always
loved flowers. In her small, shack sized house in North Carolina she had
flowers everywhere, cluttering up what little space there was.
I was still smiling when I looked
over to the bed and saw an aging face poking out from under the sheets
covered partially by an oxygen mask. Tubes ran from her mask to a
machine standing rigidly beside the bed. Tubes ran out from the bottom
of her sheets into a metal container. Tubes ran out from the side of her
sheets, one end connected to a needle in her arm, the other connected to
a plastic bag containing liquids. Tubes were everywhere. Her little olí
body barely even took up half of the bed, and I wondered what awful
sight I would see if I lifted the sheets from over her.
I tried to put all those images into
the back of my head, but they were so vivid and present. There was a
conversation going on, but my thoughts were elsewhere. What was there to
say? Stories of my lifeís troubles didnít seem appropriate at the time,
and I didnít feel like making jokes. Thatís when she began her story.
Last night, she had been resting in
the dark, but not really resting because she didnít even go to sleep
anymore; she couldnít. The door had been propped open as it always was
at night, and something had happened. A man had appeared behind the
door. He didnít say anything, he just stood there behind the door in
darkness. She was terrified. She screamed for the doctor as loud as she
could. When the doctor arrived, there was nothing, and no one there.
I sat there as I had been before,
silent and solemn, picturing her screaming at the top of her lungs. It
scared me. And then I thought about the visitor who had come to her in
the middle of the night. He came quietly and suddenly like death, and
then disappeared into the darkness. I couldnít believe that he was real,
but he must have been.