by Chris Pyak

The two of them were both so frail. Parts were failing, because frankly: They were super old. Ninety years one of them, 92 the other. One of them could hardly see, the other was nearly deaf. But never have I seen a pair that together created such a perfect definition of „whole“.

When I met “the two of them”, I was 17 years old. It was my first year of training as a nurse and what they did taught me what love is supposed to be.

I first saw him. But I had to make an effort to spot him. At the end of the room, directly at the window was a wide and comfortable chair. The chair was stuffed with blankets and pillows and somewhere inside this warm nest, well protected, was a man with dried up, yellow skin and slow, deliberate movements. 

His careful actions were a stark contrast to the chaotic activity that filled the centre of the room. The other nurses tried to push two hospital beds together in order to create a double bed for the two of them. More pillows and blankets flew onto the tiny man, shiny metal brakes were released with a hard „clank“, my colleague shouted at me: „Don‘t stand there. Grab that corner!“

Hospital beds are as mean-spirited as shopping carts. If you try to push two of them together so they match up tightly, you need three nurses and an exorcist. Robots are no use with hospital beds, since they run on software, not demonic rituals.

I jumped into action and by doing so, nearly ran over the female part of the two of them. I simply hadn‘t seen her in the foreground of all the action. She was as frail and wrinkly as him and moved with the same careful, tiny steps. But when she turned her head to greet me, her smile burned right through my heart. Decades of accumulated karma points focused their full attention on me in those two kind eyes.

„Guten Tag!“ I said and bumped backwards into my colleague, who swore and told me to get on with it. We finally managed to push the beds together, filled the hole in the middle with rolled-up blankets and used the bedsheets sideways so that they would create one smooth surface on both beds.

Continue reading “Whole” 2/7

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