Missy—as Missy is apparently who she resides in, although she wasn’t supposed to—tugs on the tube attached to her hand and winces. “Ouch!”
“We might be able to get rid of that thing,” the nurse says as she enters the room, “now that yer awake and can eat and drink.”
She adjusts the bed so that Missy’s sitting up, and she sticks a straw in her mouth. “Just suck, pull on the straw,” the nurse instructs, clearly bewildered by how much she has to tell this woman.
Missy’s eyes go wide as the liquid fills her mouth. Ohhhhhhhh! That’s nectar of the heavens!
The nurse puts some lumpy-looking food item on a rounded eating implement and feeds her.
Ohhhhhhhh! Manna of creation!
“Most of my patients are nowhere near as appreciative of orange juice and oatmeal as you are!”
“Ohhhhhhhh, it’s sooooooo good!” Ohhhhhhhhhh!
“Maybe everyone should have a coma so we can come back and be so grateful.” The nurse feeds her another spoonful of oatmeal, to another swoon. “Okay, perhaps not. Perhaps we should just wake up every day and be grateful and skip the coma.”
“I haven’t heard the woman next to me,” Missy says.
“She died last night.”
“Oh! She got her wish.”
“She wanted to go home, ‘now,’ she said.”
“Wow. Well, yes, she got her wish, then.”
That makes one of us. As no one has yet to answer her beseeches to the ceiling, she adds, Have you forgotten me down here? Just send me to the wrong place and then forget about me? Thanks!
“Can you stand up? There you go! And how about taking a few steps with me? Hey, that’s great!”
The physical therapist leads Missy away from her wheelchair, toward a walkway with two railings on either side. His skin is much darker than that of her family and most of the other hospital staff. She can’t take her eyes off his arm.
“Missy,” the older woman, who had identified herself to the young woman as her mother, says, “it’s not polite to stare.”
Missy touches his skin. “It’s so beautiful. It hides all the blue lines and stuff underneath.”
He laughs. “Yes, I suppose it does.”
She looks at her hand. “I like it a lot better than mine.”
Her mother rolls her eyes in a combination of embarrassment and relief that at least her daughter is breathing and moving and talking…even if the talking is nonsensical—and perhaps rude—at times.
“Missy,” the physical therapist says, “I’ve never seen anyone go from flat on her back to up and walking so quickly after an accident like you had, plus the coma. Yer a miracle!”
“So are you,” Missy responds.
He’s clearly puzzled at her words, but smiles. “Perhaps I am.”
So are all of you humans, really. You just seem to be the last beings in Creation to know it.
She considers this last thought of hers. At least I’m warming up to the place. And them. Maybe.
Missy smiles as she runs her finger along the flower’s petals. So soft and delicate. A couple of the flowers are much larger than the others—yellow, with large, round centers and a thick…Oh, I know that word…stem, right. She runs her finger across the plush padding of the center and notices that it’s not just the center of the flower; it has myriad little flowers all clustered together. Amazing beings in their own right, these are. She runs her finger along the soft, delicate petals of the pink and yellow flowers alongside the big yellow ones. All of them. She slowly explores the gentle folds, crevices, and interesting hiding places of a couple of the other flowers. They must be roses. She attempts her recall on the other flowers. Perhaps those are daisies. Whatever they are, they’re all beyond amazing.
A nurse walks into her room.
“Liz,” Missy says, reading her name tag.
“Yes,” Liz answers, nowhere near as impressed as Missy is that she can read the letters.
Liz’s darker skin, although not as dark as the PT’s, as Missy’s learned to call him, and features seem more exotic than most of the others. A thick, long, dark braid hangs down her back. Some of these words are coming to Missy; most others remain unreachable, like they’re locked away in a section of her brain that she can’t quite access yet.
“You can move around now, so you don’t need this anymore.” Liz starts to remove that very strange tube that had connected Missy’s body to a bag hanging on the side of the bed.
“Sorry. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world. Can you go to the bathroom by yourself now? Do you need to?”
She guides Missy into the bathroom, seats her on the toilet, and leaves.
Missy’s eyes widen, overcome with the relief of relieving herself. “Oh, wow! Oh, wow!”
“You alright in there?” Liz calls.
“Can I open the door?”
Liz pokes her head in, obviously flummoxed by the amount of joy Missy’s experiencing in the bathroom. “Do you need to do anything more?”
Liz closes the door again, and after an unusually unabashed big sigh and “Oh, wow!” that followed a few equally unabashed grunts and groans, she goes back in. She grabs some toilet paper and hands it to Missy, who is mystified by it. She shows her how to use it, flushes the toilet, and leads her from the room.
“That was amazing!” Missy raves.
“Uh, okay then.” Liz’s face flushes a bit. “Well, it’s said that that’s one of the best feelings we experience, along with the other expected ones.”
Liz’s face flushes even more. “Sex. Eating. Fer some people the order is reversed, though,” she chuckles.
After guiding her back to the bed, Liz fills a small tub with warm water. “I’m not going to have you try the shower yet,” she says. “Yer still a little unstable.”
She hands Missy a soft, squishy thing. When Missy just examines and then squeezes the article, clearly having no idea what to do with it, Liz holds her hand out. “Here, let me have the sponge back,” she says and proceeds to wet Missy down with it.
“Wow—that’s even more amazing!” Missy sighs as Liz makes gentle strokes on her face.
“Where in the world did you go in that coma of yers?” Liz asks. “Everything seems brand new to you.”
Missy doesn’t answer, lost in the rapture of the sponge cleaning her arms…her legs…and, oh, her back! And her front!
“Here’s a ta’l.” Liz starts to dry Missy’s back and then hands her the towel to finish up.
Oh! This towel!
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