I feel so nauseous – and my hands are shaking, so I occupy them by swiping through my phone.The beige and butter yellow paint job does nothing to distract me from the smell of disinfectant. No matter how much money you throw at it, they all look the same with their fluorescent lighting and distant screams of a needy child.
No one greets you as you walk by. There are no smiles. This is a place where you come in the hopes not to die. It’s pretty much all you are asking for – that and a reasonable bill at the end of your stay.
It’s a hotel where you check in all control you may wish to possess over your body, your decisions. Paperwork is signed to ensure that those who were gifted to save lives, will not be blamed when death is beneath the ribbon. You can’t even have contact with the outside world, unless you utilise set times in which your family hopes it isn’t goodbye forever between the hours of 7 and 9.
I remember watching my grandmother die. We were all so cheerful – I wondered why we needed to buy flowers and teddy bears and write cards for her. While everyone fussed over her, I remember being curious over the bottom cabinet adjacent to the bed. In my grandmothers were her knitting needles and toiletries, a crossword puzzle and some sweeties. While I couldn’t inspect other cabinets that were occupied, the ones that were empty puzzled me. Who owned it last? What happened to them?
Did they perhaps have a pair of pearl earrings given to them by their husband? A pocket knife passed down throughout the generations? A torn comic book bought at a second hand store? It seemed that one day you would open the cupboard and there would be items to inspect, and the next day, nothing at all.
Everyday we visited my grandmother, it seemed that being in this place was slowly sucking the life out of her. Maybe that was what the bags of water were for, to hold her essence. She was a woman of rose gardens, and hymns on the piano. The only smells now were of urine, the only sounds heard were of incessant beeps that told you that at least for now, you are alive.