As usual another short stay in hospital draws out strange thought patterns in my head.
I was going crazy, really. I honestly think there was no particular concern to keep me in hospital. I hate hospitals even when the doctors are cute (best case scenario). Anyway, in between waiting for the results off another batch of tests to come back, I managed to slink past the fierce nurse who guards me like I am a felon with a flight risk.
I was not going anywhere in particular, just out of that hospital room and as far away as possible from the talkative lady I was sharing the room with. For some reason she wanted to know my entire medical history. Strange, most people with chronic ailments can be very talkative, unless they are going through a depressive patch like I was then. And it didn’t help that it was Valentine’s day. She wanted to know about my Valentine, too. I tried to explain to her quite reasonably my stand about Valentine, Cupid and their arrows but she was not having any of that. So I fled.
Down the hall, around the corner, down the wheel ramp, I bumped into him. Little boy, 12 years old he told me firmly when it came up. He looked so much younger than 12, and his head was smooth with no hair at all, but his eyes were spit fire. He grinned when I shuffled along. I turned to check who he was smiling at.
“I know you.”
“I don’t know you.” I told him, feeling plenty silly.
He chuckled, increasing the reading on my sillometre.
“Nurse ****** says you are crazy.”
She does? Nurse ****** is the amazonian guard whose station just happens to be right across the room I always seem to end up in. She is no nonsense, but everytime she glowers down at me, I can’t help notice how big and beautiful she is. (Don’t even start on that.)
“Hm.” That’s codeword for what-in-the-world-am-I-supposed-to-say-now?
“I’m Steve, I stay downstairs in the children’s ward.” Okay, Steve, children’s ward, stay? He looks a bit older than the kids I would have volunteered to read for sometime ago. And there is no way I’d forget those eyes. And that grin.
“I know. I saw you on TV.” How comes everyone has seen me on TV and I haven’t seen me on TV? Maybe I have a body double.
“Nurse ****** says you can teach me how to write.” She does? I thought Nurse ****** hates my guts. I fuss a lot, don’t like pain, hate needles, and dislike hospital food. She thinks I am a spoilt brat last I checked.
“Uh, maybe. What do you want to write?” I am exhausted, so I lean against the wall like Steve.
“Adventure stories, for the kids downstairs. I tried, but I got stuck, and I made some mistakes.”
“What kind of mistakes?”
“I’m just a kid, you know.”
“I thought you said you were 12.”
“12 is still a kid. And my English is not so good. I keep spelling wrong. And Nurse ****** says I have to learn sentence construction. Whatever that is.”
“Sentence construction is like knowing if nouns come before verbs and stuff like that.”
“I know about nouns and verbs, and tenses. How old are you?”
Now what in the world does sentence construction have to do with my age?
“Old. How old do you think I am?” That’s a loaded question.
“I don’t know, like 20. I don’t think you are old. My auntie at the home is old. She is like 30.”
Okay, I guess I am not telling you my age kiddo.
“Does it hurt?”
“Does what hurt?”
“The reason you are here. Does it hurt?”
“Yeah, but it’s not so bad like when I came here. Doctor ****** says the cancer is going away now. I am going home tomorrow. So can you teach me to write today?”
“Learning to write is a process. You can’t figure it out all at once. It’s like Maths, you have to learn everyday, and practice a lot.”
“Oh, okay. Can you come and teach me at home then? There’s lots of other kids there, you can teach them, too.”
“Where do you stay?”
“At the children’s home in ******.We can write together, and then come and read for the kids here. They love it when someone reads stories for them. Because they stop thinking about the pain and then they can have some fun.”
I guess that snapped me out, well, partly out of my depressive mood. Love is the kid whose life is turned upside down by loss and illness, but whose only thought is to help other kids cope.
© Juliet Maruru 2010 www.jmaruru.wordpress.com