Previously: A Few Visitors PART ONE, PART TWO.
And concluding with...
It was dark. It was as if he was still disappeared. But he wasn’t, for he could see. The door was closed, the lights were off, but a stream of light pooled on the floor tiles off to his right. His eyes followed it; they grew accustomed to his surroundings. Passed the curtain divider there was a window, fluorescent light from the nurses ward came in from it.
Evin did not like the light. He recognized it from when he was in the disappeared state. It never left, it imprinted itself on his eyes from the hours he was gone. “Out out brief candle” the light was unnatural and unyielding. It was the very nature of the hospital.
A second lesser light, electronic green in tinge, came from a line blipping up and down with his heart on a monitor screen to his left. Various unknown numbers changed upon it. Evin wanted the sun.
The fluorescent light flooded in from the door, now opened.
Evin turned, a human shape came in, as his eyes once again adjusted the shape became a female form and the features fell into place. It was a nurse, thirty something, skinny, brown hair with blonde highlights.
“Oh. You’re up.”
“Umhum,” even his unspoken murmur cracked in his throat.
“Would you like some water?”
He replied, “Yes.”
She left, and returned with a pastel pink plastic cup with a straw.
“Sip slowly,” she said. She sat it on a table with wheels that slipped underneath his bed and a top that came over his bed.
He took the cup, holding it gingerly, weakly really, and sipped, sipped greatly.
“Slowly,” she said again.
It felt as if the water never made it all the way down his throat. Instead, it soaked into his parched pallet. Eventually it made it all the way down, residing in a stomach which it found empty.
“Thank you,” he said.
“Of course.” She said it so nonchalantly that Evin was amazed. The water she gave him was something, something important. It changed the very nature of his body, and cleared his mind. Yet, “Of Course” was all she could say. Evin didn’t understand.
“Really. Thank you,” he said, looking up at her. She in turn looked over him at the green monitor.
“You’re welcome,” she said, looking at him and giving a slight smile.
He put down the cup on the table and lay back.
“Your readings are good,” she checked the bag hanging from a hook over his head, and looked lower at something Evin couldn’t see.
She leaned down and did something he couldn’t see. Then she came up with a bag filled with yellow.
“That’s my. Pee.”
“Yes,” she replied, giving him a queer look.
Evin was all of a sudden very conscious of the blocked and expanded feeling in his penis. It was a catheter. He’d read “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” in Mrs. Well’s English class at the beginning of the year. He remembered how the catheters were said to “pop” when Nurse ratchet came in.
It was strange how he didn’t pee; yet the bag filled.
“I’ll be in to check on you again in a bit,” she said, interrupting Evin’s thought.
And with that she put the bag under her arm and took it out with her, and the door closed again, and the machine clicked again, and he again began to feel the release from his body. The tangerine taste came back, and he thought about the yellow. She’d done that before. Many times before. Taken people’s pee. Everyone peed without trying to when they had a catheter in them.
He slept, for a while. Fitful dreams. The porch, gym class, pee. Rivers of pee everywhere, torrents of it coming down hallways.
Then his parents were there, he kind of saw them, and kind of didn’t. He was disappeared, yet vaguely spoke. They told him something important. Something was going to happen. The click kept coming, off and on. He faded in and out. He tried to cough up the thing inside his chest, but couldn’t cough at all. The nurse came in, filled the clear bag above him and emptied the yellow one below him. It was night and it was day, the fluorescent light continued to play down upon him. And he slept some more.
His parents were there again when he opened his eyes. So was his brother and his sister.
“Evin,” his father said, in a tone too gentle to be real, “you’re going to go into surgery again.”
“No,” he said, yet he did not feel as if he was objecting as he said it.
His mother looked down at him, near tears at his response, “Oh, honey.”
“Yes,” he said, for her, soul and spirit still severed and emptied by the morphine. He tried to cough, then said with dry mouth and thirsty throat, “Yes, I’m going into surgery.”
They fell back as two men in white came. Evin thought for a moment about “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” but the men slid something underneath his body, said “ah one, two, three,” and lifted him up and set him down on another bed. It was cold, steel covered with white sheets.
A man came in. He wore the collar and black.
“Father Carpenter,” Curtis said.
Why was he there? His family didn’t attend church. Mandy had went through a Born-Again stage in College, but “why was he there?” He’d said it aloud, though he hadn’t intended to.
“Honey. You’re going to be all right. But there’s a chance that you might… that…”
“I already know what death is like,” he replied, all of them watching over him as he lay there.