From our window, the clouds seemed static, frozen. Orange-and-green taxicabs drove through the slush six floors down. Tilly whimpered, buzzed for the nurse, asked for Dilaudid, whispered “good morning.” Swaddled in her sheets, she breathed hard. Phenolic air. She asked me how I was feeling. We lolled in our beds, our mothers asleep in their wooden chairs, wrapped in winter coats, their heads dangling crooked.
Tilly and I began our daily walk—we could only ever circle the floor twice. We linked arms, dragged IV poles with our free hands. The hospital hallway was long, off-white, off-world, a nearly invisible trail of half-existence. Fluorescent light faked endless daytime. Supposedly, there is also no night in heaven. With every step, that sorry tube stabbed me deeper in the gut like a helpless thief. Blood drained downward into a bag wrapped around my knee. My insides, bared to all who passed by.
- by Mariana Gurgis