For One Night Only

by James A. Stewart

I listen to the beep-beep-beep of the monitors, their constant metronome giving comfort to those wearing the plethora of wires and straps that reach out from the tooting sentinel next to their bed. I don’t want to be here. But I am.

Laughter rises from the room next door: a family happy at grandpa’s recovery? Perhaps. I wish them ill, for their joy is in contrast to my anguish. There will be no recovery in this room; the odours of urine and disinfectant mix to give this sterile cubby-hole the stench of near death. The wilting flowers only add to the bleakness of the surroundings. I bat them away with my hand and they drop to the floor with nil ceremony. They’re lifeless. I look at them lying with pathetic limpness on the floor and give an ironic laugh. The snort causes me to gag and I retch up putrid bile. It burns the back of my throat and leaves behind the tang of a hundred hangovers.

I’ve lost track of how long I have been here, in the place I don’t want to be. He’s a fickle character is old Death. He works to his own timescales, not mine; nor anyone else’s, for that matter. When your business is expiring people you’re your own boss.

I lift a grape. They’re soft and soggy. I feel the heat in the room. No wonder the fruit and flowers are past their best. They’ve only been here two days, brought by my sister. She’s a good woman. I insisted she stay away tonight. I told her to get along to her aerobics, sang her Fergal Sharkey’s ‘Good Heart’. I am not sure she appreciated the joke but I am certain she respected my attempt at putting a brave face on things.

Using the remote on the bed, I dim the lights in the room as I have a migraine coming on. Stress is my enemy. Up in the corner I catch sight of a red LED light. It blinks at me. Then it blinks again. I blink back, as if to communicate. It blinks again. The light’s uncomplicated existence makes me jealous. The LED’s half-life will outlast most living people. In its unrelenting primacy it has everything I want; a long life without complication. I throw a grape at it; it is no longer my friend.

About me

This is me: home-writer, book-reader, dog-lover and occasional poet. I make this website to share my and my friends texts with You, dear Reader. Please: read carefully, don't be scary, upgrade your mood and be king and leave your comment. :)