Today’s Prompt~You’re locked in a room with your worst fear. describe what’s in the room.
I’m sitting in a chair next to a bed. A hospital bed. There is an old woman in the bed. I can’t tell if she’s sleeping or if she is comatose.
The room appears to be old, but more furnished than a hospital room. Not furnished very well, however. This must be a nursing home of some type. Probably run by the government. It is definitely not a nice or comfortable place. The air is acrid and thick. It smells of urine, vomit and Pine-Sol.
While certainly set up for a long-term resident, the room has no decoration. Nothing on the walls, no knick-knacks, plants, or anything that would give a clue to the occupant. Other than the medical necessities. It’s clear that the person who lives here is in very poor health. Hanging by a thread. Machines, tubes and wires everywhere. Monitors beep. Oxygen machine hisses.
There are also no personal items. No family photos. No cards. No balloons. No flowers. There is a guest book on the bedside table. I open it and flip through the pages. They are empty. This person has no one. No one has visited, no one has left mementos or treasured items to look at. No one cares for or prays for this person. She has been left here to die. Alone.
I can’t imagine who this person is, or why on Earth I’m stuck in a room with her. Pathetic, frail and gasping, she horrifies me. I’ve had enough. I walk to the door to leave, but for some strange reason it’s locked.
There must be a misunderstanding. I’ll just call the nurse’s station and someone will come and let me out. That’s odd, there’s no telephone in this room. I poke around the bed, looking for a call button, trying not to look directly at this shriveled up shell of a woman who looms at death’s door. I don’t see one. What is going on here? Why am I stuck here?
Knowing that I’m trapped, at least for the moment, it starts to feel more and more like The Twilight Zone. I must be here for a reason, so maybe if I can figure out what it is, I’ll mercifully be set free by whatever forces of karma that are holding me prisoner.
It has to be the woman in the bed. Who is she? What possible connection can we have? It’s not my mother, she’s been gone for years, and she died at home, surrounded by family and friends. I’m still very confused.
Deep breath, muster what little courage and sense of reason I have left. Let’s see if we recognize her. She’s a tiny woman. Very, very old. She looks mean and bitter. Deep wrinkles around her mouth and between her eyebrows suggest a great deal of frowning. She does look vaguely familiar though.
I see that she is wearing no jewelry of any kind. Not even a wedding ring. No birthmarks on her face or her thin, frail arms and hands. She does have a great deal of freckles though. I don’t see any scars….oh wait, there is a thin white scar, barely visible, on her left forearm. I recognize that scar.
I’m instantly filled with a shrieking sense of terror and can’t catch my breath. I think I know who this is. With a crushing sense of trepidation, I go to the end of the bed and lift the sheet above her left foot. Gingerly, not wanting to see what’s under there.
Oh my god. No big toenail on her left foot. Just as I had feared. One last and final thing I must check. I have to be sure. Many people are missing toenails.
I sneak back to the door, and peer out the small window. I don’t see anyone coming to rescue me, or in the hallway. I frantically try the door one more time, but it won’t budge. Tears start to stream down my face, and my breathing becomes more intense, more erratic. Soon I’ll be hyperventilating if I can’t gain my composure.
Calm down. Make sure who she is before you panic. No one is coming. Just do it.
What I do next is a pretty blatant violation of privacy, but I have to be sure. I approach the woeful remains of a person, and reach under her covers to pull up her gown. If my suspicion is correct, she will have a tattoo on her upper belly, right in the hollow between where her ribs meet. The tattoo is a Celtic trinity knot.
You, me, us
Past, present, future
Then,…. now,…… forever…….
A mark to represent true love that lasts forever. No matter what may come.
I rip the gown up, eyes squeezed tight, hoping against hope that there is no tattoo on that thin belly below that horrible barrel chest.
There is no tattoo. But the scar from having it removed is glaring.
I shriek in terror at this person who has become what’s in this bed. So alone, so abandoned, so unloved and wretched.
She is me.