A different room, a different roommate, each an experience, a window into another world. I drift. I float. High atop the crest of a Tsunami. I’m on a mattress in a narrow hospital bed on wheels. It folds up and down and it has a magic wand, upon which, you can call a surly nurse.
“Hello! I’m dying.” No. I won’t admit it. Death is not part of my plan. I’m ok with a slow easy death from old age, not now. Now, I am busy. Writing. Painting pictures. Reading. Right now, the bulk of my dwindling energy is yoked to the privilege of taking care of my offspring and willing myself to live another day.
Roommate Number Two is young, perhaps a bit lighter shade of medium honey brown skin, a shade lighter than Cappuccino Me. I see her as they roll me in. I take her picture with my mind. Snap! Her story becomes mine for as long as we share this room. The curtain does nothing to separate us. This instance of forced intimacy, being a shared room while receiving visits from one’s doctors and nurses, friends and family is a radical change from the sheltered reality I know.
My dreams are torture. I go to hell and visit with an evil Southern Minister and his all white choir and congregation. I end up drowning in a flood cause by washing the plastic Negro soup dispenser.
Roommate Number Two is married to a young dark skinned man with a dollar sign tattooed on his neck. Her mother, a round quiet woman with blond hair, shaped around her head in a sleek bonnet, and her intense, and palpably, devoted husband, visit her. He spends the night, sitting in the chair by her beside. They barely talk. Thankfully. You can feel the quiet passion between them. When they whisper it is of their children. She wants to go home.
Daylight. Her t.v. wakes up. Desperate Housewives of The O.C. is on. I listen, curious. I want to learn. Those women are… well, whatever. I don’t understand. I sink back into “Inheritance,” a novel set in China, which I am slowly… until the doctors come.
A Gaggel of Doctors flock at the foot of my bed. They plan out my treatment. I listen. Scared. Doctors are really intimidating, lab coats akimbo. En masse they march into the room and nest. I am but a little bird, waiting to be told what is right, what is happening to my body!
I’m expanding. Each day I put on weight, no from food, but fluid… trapped under my skin. I am a prisoner in a huge body, now. I can not see my feet. Every step I take, is the Odyssey. Effort. Pain forms new shapes on the edges of my mind. I’m dying.
That night, I dream of a vast grave site. Deep tones of gray and unending shades of eerie blackness… There are tombstones. On has an open grave, lit bright, like a disco, with stairs going down. I fear this gaudy hole is calling me. The light pulsates bight, a green tinge to it. It whispers, “Come!” Death, oily and seductive, has come to lay claim on me.