Monday, November 19, 2007

14 days

Well my toothpick legs are still toothpicks, but brown now, after two weeks of lying in the manicured grass of the inpatient unit. They say I look healthier. Maybe it's the freckles.

Woken for meds at 8am, we'd stumble around the unit, sometimes still pajamaed until the night rolled around again, a coffee in one hand and a never ending ciggy in the other. There were eleven beds. Eleven different faces. A businessman, a schoolteacher, a gang member, some rich, but more often broke, some beautiful, some who once were.

I read and read and read. Climbed through a trapdoor in my head, curled tight in imaginary worlds. Had a stack of books, and a boyfriend bringing me more each day.
But the stories told over shakily rolled cigarettes, shared between sore bodies awkward on cheap plastic furniture, sun in our eyes and wind in our hair despite the high glass walls, they tumbled out, like words in a book never can. No novelist's need to be inventive. The sour fear, stupid risks taken, pale excuses, families lost, deaths of course- sudden and slow, the blame, longing that gnaws, the emptiness of loneliness, well, we laughed and laughed until our stomachs hurt. There wasn't much else we could do.