Room 102

He is lying on a hospital bed inside a private room in what would seem to be a hospital. No sound except the loud hum of the air-conditioning and the occasional beeps from the road 6 stories below. He's in a blue patient's gown, eyes almost totally closed like two walnut-shaped doors ajar. His breathing is steady, his right hand on his tummy, his left on his side hooked to an IV. The light has a faint gloom to it, it's bright enough to read, to see the details; his eyelashes sticking by three's and fours, the soft lines of his face, and the cracks of his lips but with an inherent melancholy. He murmurs unintelligibly. I know he does this, he does this when he's in the deepest of his sleep. When his soul sinks into the bottom of his universe, to the very core that operates it.

I am sitting beside him on a white plastic chair, the ubiquitous monobloc. Feet stamped on the floor, not even the Hulk can pull them out. My hands rest on my knees, clutching them like the last of two apples, my only food for a journey of 7 days. My eyes are fixed on his left hand, on the needle, the place where the skin borders the silver metal. Of course I can't really see this in reality, but this time I can, the gauze bandage has become a thin wall of smoke and I can see the needle pierced into his skin.I’ve been staring at this for almost half an hour now. Somehow it has managed to hypnotize me, this image of a mutilation, small but cruel.
One breath breaks the almost-silence, the deepest from him since I found myself sitting here on this chair in this room in this hospital. From the skin and the needle, I trace the IV system with my eyes and notice words flowing through the tube being sucked into the needle and disappearing into his skin. I follow the tube, slowly, concentrating, as if the whole vision would disappear at a blink. The words continue to flow and I continue to follow them in reverse, anticipating the source. The words are as tiny as ants but sometimes I can read the sentences they seem to form. I put one together in my head: soon-it-was-back-to-the-monologue. I continue tracing the tube going through one loop like a snail's roller coaster. The tube is going upwards now. The words fall faster like convoys of pinballs on a maze. I finally reach the dextrose jar or bottle, it's too fat to be a bottle and too bottle-looking to be a jar. There is no IV bag just this large object made of glass. Looking at it longer, I realize another conundrum, the bottle was abnormally large and contained books jumbled , stuffed inside. Of course, like you, I'd say: so that's where the words come from!

So I say to myself: so that's where the words come from. I say this but with a less exciting punctuation like most of the sentences flowing through the tube. I let out a sigh and switch to looking at his face, I say to him: You'll be alright-yeah, seriously. The moment I say this though, something strange happens. He coughs. He drools a bit and it trickles down lazily following the edges of his jaw until finally it reached his earlobe and into his ear. An even more strange detail is that the drool looks like the words flowing through his IV, this time bigger and slowly it reads: I'll-see-you-again-soon.

I feel my chest exploding inside at the sight of this but the rest of my body sits still, stiff-frozen. My feet firmly rooted to the floor. I catch myself wide-eyed and heavily breathing. My right hand raises slowly almost by itself and I remember why it's doing that: I want to cover my mouth. Or wipe it. I'm drooling. I give my mouth one swipe with the cup of my right hand and by instinct, start inspecting my drool. Surprisingly, it is as ink and on my hand looked like words smudged on wet a book, unintelligible. This reminds me of the words flowing through the IV. I look at the giant dextrose with the books inside and start tracing the tube downwards. One fast swoop, a loop, three waves and finally the gauze bandage. My ability to see through it is gone, I cannot see the needle and the skin. I remember whom the IV was for and I look to see how he's doing but he's no longer there. I notice why I had to turn to look at him. It led to his hand anyway, so why did I need to turn? At a sudden urge, I look at my left hand- bandaged, hooked to an IV.