Prose:  An Aberration In Thought

I get so emotional sometimes…
I had arrived at the hospital to visit a friend.  I hadn’t seen her for 14 years before the previous time which was some months ago.  And now I wanted to visit - as at our age you never know.

There were freshly planted trees dotted across the plaza.  They were mere saplings - young upstarts - and the delicate pale leaves fluttered slightly in a breeze that wasn’t there.  It was night-time, the trees bemused by the floodlit approach.  They were just starting out, having found their place.  Who knew if one day they might be uprooted, moved or otherwise taken away.  Perhaps they might even outlive the building itself.

Aside from getting emotional, another thing that occurs is that I feel a brusqueness at new beginnings.  The feeling goes something like this: “surely it’s a bit late in the day to be starting out?"  Of course, this fleeting feeling has no place, an aberration in thought.  The world simply doesn’t stop turning, not for one nanosecond.  The physicists amongst us would point out that in a far distant future, it does.

Ascending the short flight of steps I left behind those troubling trees.  Mentally wishing them well, as well as scolding my own anthropomorphism.


Once I had made it to the ward, somewhat surprised at the lack of modernity in determining my passage through.  A simple lift that would have sufficed for the 1990s, no barriers, a quick ID check at the desk, human contact on more than one occasion.  Things hummed, occasionally rattled.  It all wasn’t quite up to the idle smoothness I had become accustomed to out in the city.  My guess would be that the preservation of health is either timeless, or that the sustaining of human progression forward is only possible while leaving behind the physical in the local environment.

Initially she seemed bright.  Laid up in her comfy clean bed.  Happy, glad to see her old friend.  Perhaps I brought too much weight to bear though, a weight of the hope of extracting something from the exchange, something I couldn’t grasp at, but felt; for after a few minutes of chat her eyes went forward, and to the past - or the future.  Perhaps instead my presence demanded a truth from her that she was not keen, currently, to admit.

After that we sat for a while in silence, I held her hand - in reality to reassure myself rather than for her, despite my bedside intentions.  The lights in the ward were low, our area only being lit, and the shadows I couldn’t tell - whether they waited for a dawn or ushered darkness in full.


Oddly, on meeting the trees again my mood had reversed.  They were jolly now and I was carrying that warmth that only contact with an old friend provides.

I could see above the buildings ahead of me the haze that hung above the city like a midnight sunrise.  The low, dense sky illuminated in a soft glow by so many street lamps, late signs, empty office blocks, singing together in a false chorus of light.
Feeling fresher now - I thought, with hope.  You always get a second wind, or as they would say these days an n-th wind - n for number, algebra finally taking hold all these centuries since those arab mystics held court over scholarly volumes, cats, and the sumptuous rugs that arrived eastwards.
There’s always a page to turn, a new chapter, a fresh verse, the proverbial spring leaf - sprouting, evermore.
I thought these things to banish the chill which - like a worried mother - had accompanied me to the place, but in reality it was simply the company, the connection, the shared time - both present and passed - whence this gentle cheer came.

On glancing back up at the facade I wished her to health, and also to abate my own disconcertments.
She did make it out all OK though, a week or so later. 
But I never saw her again. 

∞  Last edit/update on: 22 / 1 / 2024

Tree against blue sky, Lisbon, Portugal
Tree against blue sky, Lisbon, Portugal
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