The Corridor

I love you and I need you, I wish that I could see you.  I’m travelling down this corridor alone, strapped to this trolley with doctors by my side pushing through door after door.  I can see the light shining but I’m not sure if it’s for me or if it’s for everyone around me.  I cry out, not pain not in horror, I cry out in confusion.  I need you and I want you, to be by my side again.  Memories flood my frazzled mind, a skeletal hand clasps my own and tells me it will be alright, it will be okay.  I can help but feel that this is a denial, that my body is failing even as I flail in the half-light of an under-funded hospital, staffed by sleep walking staff with the warmest of hearts.

I need you and I want you, I can hear voices in the corridor, not my own or those around me but others, crying out in equal pain or in anger at the wait.  Where are my sons, where are my daughters?  I wanted to say to grow up in peace, to love your family, friends and neighbours as one, to move on or to leave if you need to.  We understand, we want you to be happy, we need you to be with us.  I love and I need you, and I wish that I could see you.

The final corridor, my body is checked in.  Checked once that I am who I say I am, that the arrows painted on my limbs are correct and that my brain is related to my body and my body is related to my name.  I say I am who I am and they take it on board, and I’m made to wait at Heaven’s Gate.  Two blonde angels guide me, make me comfortable on the slip green sheets which matches their sleek outfits.  Only bras and knickers must be under their gowns I think, wondering who they share their bed and younger, supplier bodies with at night.  My own is broken, battered and torn.  A mess of surgical scars, shortened limbs but above average, well we won’t go into that but it is according to a litany of my previous lovers.

I want you and I need you, I wish that I could see you.  I laugh, laugh at the futility of it all.  The drugs, I yearn for the warmth of the morphine, of the wicked sleeping potion to crawl up into my veins and up into my arm and to flood the chest cavity and consciousness itself.  I yearn to sleep with no dreams, where the minute that passes is not a minute but a moment between awake and awake.  My eyes linger on one of the angels, filling in the paperwork in the corner of the room, haloed by broken bodies on stripped back beds.

I need you and I want you, I wish that I could see you.  I’m moving, I’m moving, but I’m not moving, there are no words for this.  Through the first set of doors I am pushed, name confirmed once more.  Am I aware of what is going to happen to me and why it is happening?  Yes, yes I scream still dreaming of the green robed angels in the theatre waiting room.  Just do it, yes the heart always beats fast.  I need you and I want you, but I just can’t seem to see you.  I stare at the anaethetist’s eyes as the plunger is gently but firmly pressed down, a milky white liquid seeps into my own bloodstream diluting reality.

I needed you and I wanted you, but I just can’t seem to have seen you.  I wake as if I have been asleep for years.  I crave water, yearn to drink a thousand litres of the freshest water available.  I want to drown in crystalline lakes and to never wake.  A tube has been down my throat, a mainline into the neck is still present.  I wish that I could have seen you, I’m sorry to have left you.  I close my eyes again.

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Waiting For You

I found myself waiting in a small white room, the generic kind that is omnipresent in publicly funded buildings that leaves the visitor feeling cold.  The kind that leaves the visitor with a distinct feeling that time passes slower inside here than it does outside there.  I was here for myself, that much I knew, but I was also with my wife who had gone off to get some coffee.  Although I had noticed that she had been some time by the time I noticed that she had left.  This frayed my already nervous temper somewhat some-more and I found myself clutching the broadsheet newspaper with a tighter grip than usual, so much so that I could see the spots of whiteness in my pallid flesh, the pressure of over-exertion, of the body not quite being able to push around as much blood as it would like.

Although the room was small I found myself seated on one row of twenty chairs, which was one of three or four.  I was sat directly opposite the double brown doors that I had come through to reach this waiting room.  At the other end of the waiting room there was a corridor which I knew had the offices stationed in discreet intervals.  The only entertainment to be had was to view either a dull aging telly whose monotonous outpourings couldn’t be heard or to read through the much fingered magazines and papers, which happened to be some years out of date.  I couldn’t imbue the feeling that the papers were out of date for a reason, that this calmed the reader down because he knew ahead of the papers what would happen the day after what they had stated.

The room shifted again and appeared smaller and I larger.  There was no telling where this would end.

The information packet that I had received before the appointment entailed little of use, no discrete instruction or direction.  Just a time and a date.  Of course I knew why I had to come to but not the reason I needed to come.  The building was suffocating and it was suffocating my thoughts.  I thought that if I had to stay longer, without my name being called out, without an actual person pointing towards me, without wanting me, that I then would leave this place of my own free accord.  But of course I could not put a time value on the present moment, I just knew I had to feel it to enact it

Again the room shifted, lurched on its axis and scrunched inwards and became smaller still.

I didn’t mind, I had a seat and a paper and my wife would soon be by my side.  I reasoned that my name, whichever it happens to be today, will soon be called and I will be designated another temporary space to call my own.  This was the routine, this was how it was organised, and we all had to play along.

I put down my paper and surveyed the other individuals who had been called here, on the same day as me no less.  I took a quick head count: 24 people.  13 male and 11 female, none under the age of 19 or so and few over the age of 60.  I was approaching that boundary myself.  This did not give me hope.  The double door shunted open with a protest and I was delighted to see my wife again.  Although she appeared irritated and was not carrying the cups of coffee I had so hoped for.

The room shifted once more, this time compacting down to a minute size.  It only just allowed myself and my wife the space we needed to sit down next to each other, to look at each other in the eye, and to hold our hands together.

My name was called.