On a winter day, the night is too cold and windy. Marie stands in the hospital wing on the 6th floor. The blue lines from the moon rest on her face. The shadow of darkness covers the room in spiral-like black birds that fly south. Marie has blonde hair and snowflake blue-gray eyes. She wears her white nightgown and pulls the curtains to the side to look out the window. The evergreen trees blur into a green canopy and the tiny square houses far away. She pushes the heart monitor and walks to her bed in the patient room. Marie sits on the long, thin white linen blanket. She lays down and stares at the ceiling. Then she looks at the white and red pills in the blue daily medicine kit on the bedside table. The nurse comes into the room, looks down, and says, “the doctor won’t be here until tomorrow morning.”
Marie covers her feet with purple knit socks. She curls up into a ball and closes her eyes. The painful memories press into her mind and she tosses and turns, unable to sleep peacefully. She gets up from the bed and walks around. Chaotic thoughts swarm to invade her mind. Marie cries and sits on the windowsill. The tears brush her cheeks and her eyes are stained pink. She sits alone in her white nightgown shaking from the loudest voice inside her head but warmed by the heater. Marie gazes, waiting until the sun rises.
The nurse enters the room as the digital clock blinks nine o’ clock. Marie looks up at her. She points to the bathroom. She gets up slowly and knocks on the door. Another patient yells, “I’m in here.” Marie sits in a chair next to another patient, a girl in her late 20s, at the hospital. They both look at each other. “The doctor put me on tranqs because I was so high last night. I just came out of rehab.” I glance at all the cuts on her legs. She says, “I smoke cigarettes until the wall peels and turns yellow. I drink until I black out.” Marie gazes at the nurse giving her a pill of Risperidone, an antipsychotic medicine, and two nicotine patches.
The nurse sits with Marie at a brown table in the corner. Marie eats a few mashed potatoes and turkey. She takes sips of water in a paper cup. The faint television plays and the hum of static and classical music from a radio.
Days pass. Marie puts on a purple shirt, a cardigan, and blue jeans. She has stopped feeling very low. She does not cry. She does not have heartache. The nurse walks in with a cup of milk, a little carton of orange juice, and a bowl of Cheerios. Marie takes sips of fluid and handfuls of cereal. She finishes all of it. That evening, the nurse comes into the room and removes the IV from her arm.
Marie is released from the dark, busy cave of the hospital. She walks past the patient’s rooms in the hospital wing. The blur of nurses attending to sick people and a Clorox scent fills the hallway. She passes the waiting room and walks through the doors. She lives.
Samantha Seto has a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University as a Writing Seminars major and a History of Art minor. Samantha is a third prize poet of the Whispering Prairie Press. Her writing has been published in various journals or anthologies including Ceremony, Soul Fountain, and Black Magnolias Journal. Samantha has work published in the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Brown University’s Cornerstone Magazine, Yale Logos, and The Harvard Ichthus. She lives in Washington, D.C.