Her eyes were red and puffy as she explained. I stared into them, a rare demonstration of intimacy on her part allowing me the tears welling up in her eyes and rolling down her nose. In that second she became a young child, no longer the tired woman dressed in suicide-watch-blue hospital scrubs watching shitty movies in the common room until late at night. Eyes fixed on the television screen and her knees bent up to her chin. An old soul with old secrets she kept to herself.

"I could never do that to anyone," the old child said through blood shot eyes. The tears multiplied and ran down her chin. "Her family and friends were devastated, gathered around her dead body in the emergency room."

"You're the one still wearing the scrubs. Who are you trying to convince?"

"I'm not convincing anyone. I'm looking into the eyes of a dead man."

I was angry and I wanted to go to my room to hide under the covers. Tune out alone with my own tormented secrets. Does she enjoy being a martyr? Enjoy sitting without moving, eyes glued to black and white classic movies, sick with secrets just to spare friends and loved ones a couple months of grief before they decide they are pissed after all. Buying into the stigma of her own illness just like everyone else.

“You’re looking at someone who wants to leave the hospital,” I assured her.

“Put some scrubs on,” she ordered, “watch old movies with me.”

“Will I feel better?” I asked.

“Depends on the movie.” The child’s eyes turned to me and gave me a last look. “Depends on the company you keep.” She dried her eyes on her bent knees, and became the tired woman again.

I really hate the thought of putting those scrubs back on. They’re scratchy, stiff, thin, and not flattering. Still, I wonder what shitty movie is on the telly tonight.


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