I spy you through the privacy shutters on the window. You’re curled up next to the woman that you love most in the world on a stark white, stiff, uncomfortable hospital bed. I watch as you whisper sweet things in the ear of the woman who draws strength from your presence. Your hand clutched in hers is an anchor that grounds the agitation and darkness that’s lurking in her eyes.
I’m caught by you for my spying when you look up and catch my eye. I want to apologise to you, I have interrupted a private moment. A moment of comfort you gave the lady when you soothed her concern over her breakfast and promised her warm milk with her corn flakes. This small gesture of routine changes the emotion in the room from dark and heavy to bright and carefree. The cartoons on the tv compete with the laughter in the room, while a race is on to see who can eat cornflakes the fastest. The hospital issued sandpaper – otherwise known as tissues, wipe my tears and running nose that have drawn attention from my co-workers, who role and shake their heads at me. “What the love in that room is overwhelming” I say. Again I am graced with more eye rolling and shaking heads.
I turn back to spy once more, the primal inner caveman in you is out in full force. The dynamics have changed with the introduction of a social worker and a Doctor to the scenario. The woman in pink flannel pyjamas is frantically trying to fix her appearance, you are a sentinel beside her. The doctor in his casual jeans and polo shirt looks as though he would rather be anywhere else in the world than in this room, and the social worker with her clipboard and list, red glasses and look of determination on her face looks ready to battle.
You obtain the upper hand, you have done this all before that much is very obvious, and your voice is like steel hard and unyielding. “I am a good boy, we help each other do everything and if we can’t do it the ladies from the church help us. I am a good boy at school and always do what my teacher tells me”. You take a big deep breath, your hands clenched at your sides.” Mum walks me to and from school every day, we eat dinner and breakfast at the table and our house is clean”.
Jesus, this is way too much, now I am openly crying next to the photocopier. Even my hard ass co-workers are showing emotion.
The lady in the red glasses strikes, “where is your family and why don’t they support you?” “ I left when I was a teenager because I wouldn’t let my step-father do unspeakable things to me”.
Ok I’m out, I tell my co-workers I am going for my break.
Once I finish my break, I walk past the room that held love, sadness and determination, to find the bed made with perfect hospital corners and sheets so tight that I could have bounced the change from my caramel latte off it.
I quickly scan the discharge notes to find out they have been given a referral for support and a cab voucher to make their way home together.
I wish I could have held that chubby little 7 year old face in my hands and told the boy in the green pyjamas, that he was a boy wise beyond his years, and that he should be very proud of himself.