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The Friday Visit

Posted by Dr. D , 25 September 2012 · 335 views

Hospital halls are sterile, hinting of bleach and disinfectants.  The tiles glisten and gurneys stand in waiting like vultures on the branch of the long corridor.  The room was there – it still is – the waiting area for radiation and chemotherapy treatments.  We would go there on Fridays, hand in hand, pretending that it was simply another place we needed to go like buying groceries or self-service gas.  She would wait for me to open the door for her.  She always did.  It was that aristocratic touch that must have come from an earlier life.

Once inside there were comfortable chairs with soft blue cushions.  I always thought it was a precaution for those with prostate cancer.  We would sit there and she would finger through the magazines on the glass coffee table and then pretend to be interested in one.  Finally, as the clock hands stretched out as if wanting a hug, she would look around the room.  Blanched faces of babies gazed back at her, their hair burned away from the inside.  A gaunt woman at the receptionist desk examining breast prosthesis and adolescents yet unaware of what awaited them.  And on that day, two chairs away, was Brenda.

She said hello and Brenda forced a smile.  “I’ve seen you here before,” she said and Brenda nodded sadly, “Yeah, Fridays.”

She wore a silk scarf over her head and her cheeks were slightly bloated.  Chemo does that.  I guessed her age to be about sixteen.  Conversations are difficult in places like that.  What do you ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  But Brenda gave quick, darting glances in our direction, trying to think of something to say.

“I hate this,” she offered at last.

“Of course you do,” came her answer, “no one likes it.”

“I stopped talking to people because one day they wouldn’t come anymore.”

“It happens,” she said, “I’ve noticed that, too.”

“It sucks.  It’s not fair.”

“No, it’s not.”

“But now my point count is so damned high, they’re just putting that crap in me to have something to do.  I don’t even know why I’m here.”

“I think they call it hope,” she advised.

“Hope?  What hope?  Everything I ever hoped for is just garbage now,” the girl scowled.

She patted the chair beside her and Brenda moved over.  She took the girl’s hand.  “So what were these big hopes you had?”

“Silly stuff, I guess.  To have someone love me.  Kinda’ that prince coming to the rescue stuff, y’know?  Just someone to be there with me.  To send me flowers, to write me love letters, to hold me when I’m scared.”  She chuckled slightly and pushed a tear from the corner of her eye.  “To find a prince and live in a castle,” she mused lightly with a thin smile.

“I wanted a prince,” she said softly, “and I wanted to live in a castle and do you know what happened?”  Brenda shook her head.  “I didn’t find a prince and I don’t live in a castle.  I found a king and I live in a palace.”

Brenda held her hand to her mouth and her eyes widened and filled with mist.

That Saturday she asked me to write a love letter; a love letter to Brenda.  We put it in a blue envelope and attached it to two dozen roses at the florist.  She had gotten the girl’s address from the receptionist and within hours they were delivered.

The following Friday Brenda greeted her with hugs and showed the letter that was tucked neatly into her purse.  She offered countless words of gratitude.  It wasn’t real, of course.  No prince had composed the words, but she cherished them as jewels and they brought a rare smile to her face.  The words of love were as real as they needed to be.

Five Fridays later Brenda did not come.   And after that we went each Friday to the room and people nodded politely.  We sat in front of the glass table and probed through magazines.

Then one Friday, we did not go.

(Dear Readers: I know what I want to write, but am not always certain what you prefer to read.  Please leave a message telling me your preference so that I will know if you are being drowned in a particular theme or want to hear more of it.  I would ask that you be specific and tell me your preferences to help guide me in the future.)

I just enjoy what you write. Continue to do that and we'll be peaches.
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I was going to say 'just write whatever you want to write and it will be read by many', but I'll go away and have a think so I can give you more to go with...  I will return when time permits...
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Ok so I've had a good hard think about this and keep coming back to what Hasina said.

I keep typing out long answers basically about how much I enjoy reading what you write, but it comes out all wrong.  So *baaaaaaaaaaaaaaackspace* ... and then I try again.
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