#48 Coma

by Beth Harar

A helicopter flew overhead as she entered the hospital. The air did not smell of medicine and death today.

Plastic bag in hand, she crossed the floor which reflected the sterile lights above and made her way to the elevator, just managing to slip in before the heavy doors shut. Past the cancer center, down a dimly lit hallway, was the locked entrance.

“My name is Sarah. I’m here to see Anna Walker,” she said to the gatekeeper of the ICU. The metal doors opened with a buzz and swish of electricity, and she entered, stopping at the first door on the left. Anna’s husband sat in an ugly chair while his mother-in-law stood by the bed, stroking Anna’s hand.

“I brought conditioner,” Sarah said. “And a brush.” Anna’s mother smiled. She shouldn’t smile here, Sarah thought. This is not a place to smile.

“Thanks,” said the mother. “It’s been a week and her hair is greasy. She wouldn’t want it to look this way.” With a tired hand, the mother fixed a strand of Anna’s black hair, which had fallen across the ventilator in her mouth.

Sarah approached her friend, whose eyes were open but saw nothing. She hesitated before lifting Anna’s head so she could spray conditioner into the dark hair. Using gentle strokes, she brushed it, twisting the charcoal locks into a bun on top of her head.

“She looks beautiful,” said Anna’s mother.

“Yes,” said Sarah, nodding. “She does.”

Anna blinked, but it meant nothing.

2 comments:

Shona Snowden said...

Great ending.

Dino Parenti said...

A delicately written and touching piece.