Wild Women Don’t Wear No Blues: Part II
by pronounced "ahhh" like a sigh
A lot of people asked for the rest of the story. There are a few parts. I don’t want to do it all at once. So maybe, once a week. This won’t be in the book so I don’t feel like I’m sharing out of turn.
Thanks for the encouragement,
Day One: Morning
I’ve watched morning arrive. I can’t sleep here. This silence is anything but peaceful. It sounds like the walls hold muffled screams. Like there is something waiting just under the surface. I lay awake waiting for the explosion. I can hear the other patients outside of my door they seem to enjoy this place. Can’t they feel the quiet. It is not soothing or peaceful. It creaks and groans and smells like the end of you. I refuse to sleep here. I am not like them.
Day One: Afternoon
I have not moved from my bed. Nurses have come and ask that I eat or talk but I shake my head. I want only to lie here until I’m told I can leave or die, whichever comes first. The nurses deliver messages from my doctors, they say simply, “Bassey, you have to try.” In my head, I answer, at least I’m not dead.
I’m not sure if this is better.
I daydream. Stare off into space and think of places I’d rather be. I, sometimes, hold conversations with myself. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. It helps me organize the rapid tumble of words in my head. And provides an internal monologue that keeps me from losing my mind here. In the middle of a sigh and nod of agreement, a doctor enters. I am once again shy. I don’t know if he’s seen this. I hope he doesn’t think that that is the problem. I can’t stay here too much longer. He wants to take my blood pressure again. The nurses have commented on how high it’s been. They wonder out loud if something is wrong. There is: I’m scared.
He studies my chart and asks me if I have a history of heart problems in my family. I nod and say, “Yes, but only the broken kind.” He doesn’t look up but throws a low, tired chuckle in my direction. His face is soft. The stubble that covers his chin is stubborn and persistent. It casts a shadow. I imagine that he will return to an empty, lonely apartment in Brooklyn.I imagine he will shower and shave. I wonder if he will nap or go out. I wonder where he will go. I imagine he will remember me. I imagine that he is 16 hours on an 18 hour shift; that he has been yelled at and threatened in the last hour alone. “At least this one makes jokes.” He will think. He will tell the others how I’m different. He will tell them that I have a spark. He will say that there is nothing wrong and let me go. I’m so lost in my fantasy that I am startled when he turns quickly to face me. “Tell me what brought you in today.” I want to say “a cab”; something else to encourage a laugh or a smile.
He looks up waiting for an answer. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been here for hours and no one has asked me anything that wasn’t clinical, that is if they ask me anything at all. I’ve forgotten how to speak. I swallow, hold my breath and exhale “I don’t feel good.” My voice betrays me and breaks into sobs. It had been 45 minutes since I last cried. I was going for a record: one full hour. I didn’t want them to see this. I didn’t want them to know that this is what happens. The doctor sits patiently waiting for the sobs to shorten. I’m sure he has been here before. I don’t know how, but I can see him resisting the urge to hold and comfort. This only makes me cry harder. I am shaking and weeping and tired and ashamed and scared and alone. I’m angry with myself, I cracked for this one the others think I will crack for them too. He pats my knee and offers me a Kleenex. It is all that he can do. His job calls for distance. I will only be a medical chart after he reaches for the door. He and I are the same. I take the Kleenex and refuse to get attached.
He asks me again, what brings me here. I swallow and shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know.”
It is all that I can do.