I help to situate her after she’s wheeled back from X-ray. Her face hushed in pain, teeth gritted, face hollowed out and wincing. She lets out a slow and shaky exhale and I blink back my tears, but one escapes and rolls from my chin, plopping obscenely on her hospital gown and staining her with my grief.
I came from her body. And maybe this is why her pain resonates in me. When she lies shattered in the hospital bed, it’s why I keep checking behind the curtain to see if someone will come ease her suffering. If someone will bear witness to the brokenness in her back. Nurses sit typing at stations. People wander, checking charts and wheeling patients by. Every cubicle is full, every room filled with people gathered in pain.
I hate hospitals.
I was five when they told her I might die. When they told her to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.