Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The room is filled with three beeping sounds. The two Sadies leave. “We can monitor from the hall,” commie Sadie says as she heads out the door. Steve moves quickly to Cheryl’s side and grabs her hand- the one without the crimped finger. “Go get the suitcase,” she says. “Ok. Do you want ice chips too? I can get those first.” “No. Just make sure you get the suitcase.” He leaves the room and bolts down the stairwell, skipping as many steps as is prudent.
As he exits the building he checks his pockets in a panic, afraid that his keys are up in the hospital room. His fingers discover the keys and he is quickly at the car, unlocking the door and grabbing the suitcase. It is heavier than he remembers. He shuts the door and reenters the building. He notices things that he missed just moments ago. The smell of sterility mixed with old age fills his nostrils. The walls are bathed in tinted sunlight that produces the effect of overexposing film. There is a general bustle inside the building- wheel chairs, people waiting outside of offices, the cafeteria sounds of dinnertime flatware and conversation over hamburger patties kept warm in a hot water bath, telephones ringing, volunteers offering help to those who look in need. His sense of urgency adds to the feeling that he is only in a dream. The bell of the arriving elevator brings him back to the present. Steve steps quickly to the elevator and sticks the suitcase inside just in time to stop the doors from closing shut. The elevator is empty and no one waits to get in when he strides onto the maternity floor.
The walls here are purple, pastel green and beige. He is reminded of someone trying too hard. Someone, he thinks, actually got paid to design this place. The floor is carpet directly out of the elevator; he can see the seams and knows that it’s the kind of carpet you can buy in squares and stick to the floor. He guesses that would make it easier to deal with all the birthing stains. Are there even such things as birthing stains? He doesn’t know. He walks past the nurses’ desk and neither of the Sadies are in sight; the desk is vacant.

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