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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