Emergency ward. Time moves in irregular chunks. Suddenly, across the room, there’s a flurry of movement. A machine blips loudly. People rush—a curtain is drawn. And then the scream. Anguish beyond thinking. A mother’s scream. Then nothing. I imagine and I hope. It’s all I can do. I shudder in the reverberations of the hollow, wordless howl.

I look across at Gabe. He’s as pale as milk. Why couldn’t he have kept his mouth shut? Blood seeps from the bandage around his head. A doctor changing shifts mutters about Saturday night  brawlers.

We sit silently in our white purgatory, waiting. I place a kiss on Gabe’s wet forehead. He does not meet my eyes.

 

2011-Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)

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