I lost my father on Friday and I wanted to post something I wrote while he was in the hospital to not internalize everything. Nothing funny in this post but I felt the need to post it. Laughs shall return in February.
Put on jacket, leave work, park on level 2 as there is usually an open spot, walk up the stairs one flight, then it’s a series of turns and hallways and all doing the best to avoid eye contact as smiles are at a premium and you haven’t given a sincere one in months. Keep your head down decide to take the first new only opened elevator, the first elevator, or the newly discovered stairs. Stairs take the stairs because you are able and go down to ground level. Walk passed the new discovered chick-fil-a as these doors that have never been opened are finally opened with a food court that show the permanence of frequent visitors who might be long time residents. Keep walking, walk past the front desk and look at South Tower. You remember South Tower. South Tower was just going to be a few days it was just going to be a week and then things would get back to normal. Keep walking. Look over at a dark waiting area it’s always dark and yet there always people sitting in the chairs. Not sure if they are waiting for the 30 seconds when this model of inefficiency is open or just wanted a place where they can sit and forget. Keep Walking. Stroll past the chapel. There is a time for mass stated on the plaque and right below it a sign that says “No Mass Today” usually a person is there just hoping to catch the padre for a quick word. Keep walking. Look up to see East Tower. Remember the first time you were here. Remember that is was only going to be a few days, maybe a week then things get back to normal. Look at the floor buttons get ready to press 7 wait 7 was two weeks ago now we are on 5. Press 5. Be happy that no one is on the elevator with you enjoy the 45 seconds before the door opens. Arrive on floor five look at the waiting room it’s riddled with Mennonite children. Argue with yourself with the validity of why these children are here or even exist. Look at the doors notice the time. It’s 5:30pm. Feel some reassurance knowing that you will be kicked out at 6pm because there is never a good time to leave. Walk the halls and look at pods filled with families in masks huddled around a bed you know if the clean room door is closed that is not a good sign. Reach nurse station 1. Immediately judge the attractiveness of all the female nurses then wonder if they were taught by dad. Keep walking ever slowly counting down the numbers. Reach 513. Wait to hear if there is conversation. Wait, turn the corner. Exchange pleasantries with whoever is there but the real reason I am there is to answer the question. “Better or worse”. Notice the machines. Is there a new machine? New machines are my nemesis. This is not science fiction new machines are not in the right direction. Talk until I am kicked out. Turn corner and hope for one less machine the next day.