Tonight, driving away with our girls, leaving you at the restaurant curb after a stilted dinner (our broken family at the table like compass points), I remembered another time. Driving to you with a bag of crossword puzzle books, The New York Times, sundry items allowed on the hospital floor (nothing to cut, puncture or maim, please). The girls were little and I had no one to watch them (alone as we were in that dreadful, Connecticut town) so they came too. I parked near the entrance, said stay here, and went inside (through two locked doors) to give you the bag. You'd been there (involuntarily) for two weeks. Facing each other in the common room of tattered couches and tables (no edges, all round) I leaned in to kiss you but you turned away. It wasn't me you wanted (you hadn't wanted me in a long time) so I said do you want to see them? Your eyes pooled, you whispered hoarsely please, and pointed to a window at the end of a yolk yellow corridor of shut doors, trees outside flapping green (with their smug sense of serenity). So I drove around to that side of the hospital. Late afternoon, the downing sun cast its pallor over the glass but you were there. Palms pressed against it. Unshaven jaw, eyes hollowed, scrubs low on your hips (no strings, no ties). I stopped the car to point. Girls. There. There he is. Do you see him? I know they did, because one gasped and the other wept.
Lisa Mecham's work has been appeared in Juked, Carve and Barrelhouse Online, among other publications. Her non-fiction work has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and she's a regular contributor to The Rumpus. A midwesterner at heart, Lisa currently lives in Los Angeles. More at lisamecham.com.