You Can Never Leave

Flickr / Maxwell Hamilton
Flickr / Maxwell Hamilton

It was just a simple procedure. I don’t understand what could have gone wrong, and maybe I wasn’t meant to…

It was a benign tumor, they said, no problem. Just needed surgery to get it removed from my leg before it started growing, and then everything would be fine. I couldn’t see it, so that helped. I imagined that it would have been worse if the goddamn thing was bulging out of my leg, but it wasn’t, and life was all right. I definitely didn’t mind the time off work whether or not it was spent in a hospital bed.

My sister was the one who took me to that hospital that day. Our time spent together was full of comforting words and nervous laughter. She had offered to take me, ensuring my boyfriend that everything would be all right, and that this way he wouldn’t have to take off work.

“Everything will be fine,” she said with a smile on her face. Those weird incandescent hospital lights reflecting off the sky-blue cones of her eyes. I could only smile in response.

We both sensed the nervousness that was inevitably leaking out of the two of us and becoming one with the atmosphere. The plain waiting room wasn’t much help either with its single magazine and paid programming channel describing a new miracle leg brace.

“And afterwards we can binge on TV and Jell-O,” I added quietly, looking around the room briefly at the others who sat waiting calmly, almost too stoically for my taste…weren’t they afraid? Couldn’t they sense the uneasiness that always resides in hospitals? A place where hundreds maybe even thousands died…

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