Beep… beep… beep…
The monotonous sounds within the ICU amplifies the grim situation.
A mother slips into silent sobs, witnessing her son drawing the last breaths of what would soon be a short eventful life.
The father’s face is pale. Emotions have not mustered the strength enough to creep up to the man.
The nurse has asked them to leave and wait outside. A haunting wail comes from the mother. A wail that can melt any heart made of stone.
“That’s it!”, I fumbled for my cigarette. “I can’t take this any more”.
Somewhere in the Cath Lab near the ICU, my old man is undergoing an angiogram. “Nothing to be worried about”, the doctor reassured me earlier. “It’s just a simple procedure.”
“Great! Let’s get this over with then”, I replied with a wry smile.
I remember him being wheeled through the long narrow hallway. An overhead fluorescent light flickered for a brief moment.
It was like that Valve game. Only without the blood scrawlings on the wall.
The door to the Cath Lab engulfed him leaving me behind in the darkness. I see masked green robes shuffling around in the distance through the glass pane. “Interventional Cardiology”, read a sign nearby.
Whatever that means.
And then you see it happening slowly around you. Time dilation. Fancy term. I made a quick mental note of donating to wikipedia this time.
“Grief-time fabric. Relative-istic!”. I tried to cough up some weird ideas as to why time slowed down. It’s a shame there was no one around me who I could share these with. I get a kick out of seeing folks groaning right after a pun assault.
“Prayer Room”, read another sign in Helvetica Neue, right next to the Operation Theater. “Well placed!”, I thought in awe.
A stretcher whizzed past me to the OT followed by an elderly couple. A quick peek revealed an unconscious young man in his late twenties, soaked in blood.
“Nasty accident”. I heard someone speaking in hushed tones. “Bike collided with a truck. The wife still doesn’t know yet. Just informed the parents”.
There, right in front of me, I see Grief for what she really is. Sorrow, her younger sister, just pales away in her presence.
“Look elsewhere. Just bloody focus on something. Anything!”, I thought. I flipped open my phone and plugged in the earphones. The ambient voices fade away and music reaches my senses.
”..To think that I might not see those eyes, Makes it so hard not to cry…”
It’s a Snow Patrol number. Irony has been messing around with my playlists. I hate it when she does that. This is not her first time.
“Seriously son, you are 25! That’s no age to sport this weird style of yours”. A voice of exasperation. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve heard that statement in that tone.
“Relax achha. Don’t get worked up now”, my reply on auto-pilot. “You do know that they won’t go ahead with the procedure if your stats start acting abnormal.”
“Your mom was right. Too much education! For God’s sake, please chop off that abomination that you call as hair.”
I had to restrain my urge to envision an omnipotent entity preparing a list of Permissible Hairstyles.
The topic here, as you might have guessed, is The Hair. I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a while since I have visited the barber. Or looked at a mirror. The Hair had tip-toed it’s way around the zomg-you-totally-should-get-a-haircut line some two years back. Needless to say, it has become an entity of it’s own. It might as well have a thriving ecology within. The Hair and I, we reached a mutual agreement way back not to encroach into each other’s space. Despite some initial setbacks, to my amazement this has worked out quite well for the both of us.
And I had a pretty good idea as to where this conversation was going. Enter Ms. Blackmail.
“For my sake, please!”
“Sure, I’ll think about it. Now get some rest.”
The silence in the parking lot was more than I could ask for. The cigarette helped with the uneasiness. I turned to the heavens to find some peace in its infinite vastness. The cosmos and its grandeur has always been a fascination for me. If you ever wish to appreciate Time for what it really is, all you have to do is look up to the heavens.
“Bloody time for an overcast”, I mumbled to myself furiously.
A woman rushed through the Casuality Entrance, as I was stubbing out the filter tip. Tall frame, brunette, mid-twenties. “The wife? Fucking night just won’t give up on me.” Tension lurked about me as I strolled back to the OT.
“70 per-cent of his heart muscles have ceased functioning. It’s a miracle that man is walking at all!”
I stared at the doctor’s face, transfixed, digesting the words that he just said. You tend to remember certain people for their voices. Voices shoved in the deeper recesses of our consciousness for their infectious calm. For their pain-alleviating quality. For the assurance they impart that everything is under control. I was glad the doctor fell in this camp.
“Well, that’s my old man. There is a powerful will within him that makes muscles pretty much worthless.”
“A bypass surgery, no less. With your father’s consent, I’ll see to it that a sooner date is chosen.”
I mumbled along. After a couple more instructions for the dietician and urologist, the doctor left. As I started walking back, wife …