Early morning, late night, did not check the hour. A hurried phone call - get up, get dressed, drive to hospital. I'm fine, we're fine. Just an alarm we found, thankfully, false. Nevertheless the A&E (Accident & Emergency) Room, lags. Drags. A strung-up tension pervades with the lingering scent of spilt bottles/cans. So quiet except for the hum of the coffee machine. While I wait for the doctor to see our loved one. I sit, write and look out. Expectant of a long night. All around us, the murmurs of humans. Delicate, hushed. All the vulnerable souls in this room are in it together yet utterly separate. Small islands of fear, trepidation, calm.
I am fine, we are ...
A woman with red hair and white clothes bobs her head to her ipod. A young woman with short hair and pyjama bottoms holds on to the hand of her beloved for dear life. Lifeboat love. He is young - dutifully responsive without looking at her. Shy - embarrassed, I can't tell. She rocks back and forth for a while then continues touching him - his hair, his blue-jeaned leg. He might as well be in another room. I notice the twin-taped cuts on her shins, then look away.
Not for the first time, I notice the lady with the green shoes. Beauty with tired eyes and hair. She looks alone, even desolate. Somehow she has turned up stylish. Looking at "us", so did we but this was done in a haze of sleep. Her green shoes glisten in the fluorescent glare. Her eyeliner, smudged. Is she alright? The result of a late night or late life. She curls up in her steel chair. Then stretches here and there, head back, uncrossed then crossed legs, conspicuous. I think that I am watching a show. Perhaps she has played the role of beauty too many times, opposite a beast of a life.
It is now 2 a.m. I write and ignore any gaze from me to pen and back again. Why can't they look at the lady with green shoes? Stream of consciousness, I am adrift. Thank God for this pen. Ipod lady has started speaking with two porters, they are pally. I wonder if it is a return trip. The lady with sore taped shins has stopped touching him. I feel relieved. Almost want to get her a coffee. It's alright, he's brought her one. Perhaps that's how he touches. Perhaps it's none of my business. Yet tonight I feel we are all in the same lifeboat, - While children sleep, mothers worry and God watches. A microcosm of a night, somewhere in England. I am fine, we are fine. Looking back on what I wrote, thinking. Sometimes I know I love the whole world and see only beauty, soft-winged beauty.