True Story: The Blanket
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column, True Story, may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
Her soft staccato steps proclaimed the intrusion of her arrival, and laying in my bed and silent in this room, my heart echoed her approach. I was not alone. There were others here. I could hear their cries, their bed sheets moving like infant sails unfurled in sterile hospital air.
But she wasn't here for them; it was me she sought. I lay vulnerable on my bed, my hands clenched, my eyes swollen shut, unaccustomed to the light. The door opened, and the noise agitated those who lay around me. They screamed and would not be still, and I had not the words to reprimand or comfort them--I was as much a visitor as they were, but I fought to remain as I was.
Struggling, I became caught in their need, and then I, too, wailed as they did. Despite her absence of perfume, I could smell her as she walked toward me; the scent of another man swam upon her clothes--he smoked, and the acrid smell of his sweat carried the scent of dead flesh. She reached for me. I did nothing to accommodate her touch. She wasn't mine--never was, never will be. The door opened again. A heavy male presence filled the room.
The others grew silent.
"Have you been able to make contact with him?" he asked.
"No," she said.
The male touched my cheek. His hands smelled of iodine and traces of alcohol--non-medicinal. He used his thumb and forefinger to open my right eye.
"The nurse said he had his eyes open earlier, but she also said that he refused to look at her."
"Is he healthy?" she asked.
"His eyes, yes; he can see. But this non-communication is something that goes deeper, almost a defiance against life."
She gently removed the blanket from me, and instinctively, I sought the warmth of my own body.
"See how he withdraws?" the man asked. "He can hear, and he can see, but he's refusing food."