The walls were a sunny Crayola-orange; no doubt some committee’s misguided attempt to cheer up this ghastly place. Mark shook his head imagining the hours of research that went into that decision. He sighed and softly muttered: “well it’s not working”. He didn’t believe a color even existed that could somehow transform these rooms & corridors into anything other than a small slice of hell. His eyes flicked to the large wall-clock, another 5 minutes had passed. “A movement drew his eyes toward the wide glass door and he felt that familiar dread rise up in his throat. Fearing the arrival of their nurse bristling with needles, ready to conduct yet another procedure on his child, he found himself gripping the arms of the chair. But she skimmed past, a metal tray carefully balanced in one hand, the other dragging an IV pole. He exhaled. Another flick of the eyes – another minute had passed. He stood, rolled his neck and walked to the window.
It was a gorgeous night, the kind he had loved when he was still in college and no one considered sleep important. He smiled weakly, nostalgic for that time when he didn’t even know that Pediatric I C U was actually a place. He rested his forehead on the cool pane and gazed blankly at the view. The sky was a perfect inky blue, the stars brilliant pinpricks – like someone had sprinkled tiny diamonds onto a velvet cloth. He knew the air was warm and calm as the trees stood serenely still against the skyline. These were the nights they would lie on the small hill outside the dorms and solve all the world’s problems. He physically ached for that time when he was utterly ignorant about how fragile the human body was, a time before he knew how things could go so awfully bad so incredibly quickly.
A small moan escaped his child’s lips. Immediately he glanced at the clock, it was nearing midnight. “Hold on, my boy, just a few more minutes.” He carefully studied the tangled mess of lines that entered his son’s body, puncturing his arms and chest, ensuring nothing was tugging. Mark checked the clock, smiled and sucked in a deep breath. After a few seconds he bent down and softly kissed the child’s clammy brow. “Well done, buddy, you made it through another day.”