Goodnight Kiss

Boy in bed

A young child waits alone in the dark
His duvet pulled up to his chin
He waits for his goodnight kiss
But his mother forgot about him.

He can hear her voice, drifting upstairs
She giggles, gossips, drinks tea
And while her son waits alone in the dark
She laughs, obliviously

While upstairs her son is alone in the dark
Thinking, “She doesn’t love me.”

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Hospital Bed

Hospital Bed

I can’t do this.
I’ll fall.
My foot fumbles forward, the icy floor making gooseflesh crawl across my skin.
My legs are twigs… too thin, too fragile. They’ll snap.
I hold onto the bed with both hands, knuckles white.
Rapid raspy breathing; deafeningly loud in the sterile room.

“You need to let go,”
A jerky, terrified shake of the head.
I am hunchback, trembling, folded inwards on myself.
“If you don’t let go, you’ll never be able to leave.”
My breathing hitches; half a gasp, half a sob.
Softly spoken; “Let go.”

I release one hand. The blood begins to flow again. It hurts.
My toes inch forward.
My feet are concrete, stone, rock. I can’t shift them.
“I’m too weak!”
“You can do it.”

With all my strength, I lift my foot.
My eyes widen. I let it hang in the air, flightless bird.
Lower it. The frozen floor greets it like a friend.
I’ve taken a step.
I’ve moved.
My left foot twitches
I take another hesitant step.
And another.

My other hand is holding me back, gluing me to the hospital bed.
I pry the fingers off one by one, cutting off my lifelines.
I shuffle forwards, tenderly, slowly.
I expect pain;
None comes.
I straighten my spine, standing tall.
Flex my toes.
Breathe deeply, savour the sweetness.

Shuffling, walking.
Walking, striding.
Chin up.
Eyes forward.
I smile, amazed, happy.
I can do this after all.

I don’t stumble.
My body remembers being alive.
I begin to jog,
Air filling the sails of my lungs.
Wasted and dying muscles gaining their past strength.
I run down the corridors, grinning.
Skin-coloured blurs and startled faces
Nurses and patients and doctors and family
Flash by.

I’m flying.

_

Inspired by this song, 3:20 until 4:21.

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