Monday, July 21, 2008

Waiting Room Blues

Tonight Mike had an allergic reaction and we went to the Emergency Room - serious business, joints swelling, welts, tight throat. He was fine after a half-hour IV drip. In the waiting room a TV mounted above the seats played a program on the assassination of Martin Luther King. Beneath, a large black woman sat breathing heavily, occasionally heaving and swallowing wetly. She stood up quickly, heels clicking as she made for the rest room. The sound of painful vomiting broke through the quiet waiting room. On the Screen Coretta Scott King wept. James Earl Ray proclaimed his innocence. The woman returned carrying a blue plastic vomit bag. She pulled out her cell phone and began a call, wiping her mouth with a napkin… “ I’m at the hospital. My stomach’s just knotted up. I’ve been throwing up since Wednesday, just real anxious. Sorry I called you and got all crazy like that… I’ve got to end that behavior, hurting people, being crazy to them… I know but you said you didn’t want to be with me like that no more… when I don’t talk to you for 8 hours, do you know what I’m thinking… You know my dad is getting older now and I’ve got to be ready for when he’s gone. I’ve got to be able to stay kind and get a good man to be kind to me and stay by me, so I’ll have something to love when he’s gone…”