Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Name What No One Wants to Name

A young man sits alone in his room. A cot and an endtable are all the furniture he has. The walls are painted an institutional off-white that he stares at for hours. His only daily visitor is the nurse who brings him his medication. She smiles, trying to brighten his day. He half-heartedly returns the gesture.

Day in and day out he sits. His family doesn't come very often. They've become too busy. They hardly acknowledge that he's there. They don't have to deal with it any more. His friends have almost completely forgotten him, save for an after-work drink that always includes the phrase, 'It's a shame, what's going on...'

Then one day, a young woman visits. They'd known each other from high school. Hadn't spoken much, but she'd heard about him.

She comes, aware of the time she's taking away from her own family.

She comes, aware of what her friends may think if they find out she's visited.

She comes, aware of the dishes in the sink, the laundry in the hamper, the bills that have to be paid.

She comes, aware of how the media portrays what he has. News stories sensationalize it. TV dramas exploit the juiciest parts.

She comes and sits across from him, looking into his eyes. For the first time in quite a while, they show signs of color and life.