The room was surprisingly small, cozy perhaps, if it wasn't white, with textured wallpaper at one end, that had soaked up the sounds of hundreds of patients dying, screaming, bleeding, whispering urgent last requests, and regretting youthful choices. He stared at that paper with its corrugated stripes and sponged memories, from the doorway, with his heels still in the hall. The form he refused to acknowledge was covered neatly with a poly-cotton blanket, draped without wrinkles and tucked in under the side bars of the bed, as if a mannequin in repose, not dead, but only because it had never lived.
He rubbed the back of his knuckles of his free uninjured hand against the coldness of the metal door frame, up and down, up and down, up and down, as if the feeble friction could bring life to the room. The heart rate monitor bleeped steadily. He tuned the sound out. The respirated wheezed in and out. The chest of the form rose and fell, rose and fell. He swallowed, then, determined, stepped forward. He walked to the foot of the bed, and forced his eyes to the eyes of the form. There was gauze holding down cotton padding, white with red seeping into it. He clenched his fist and looked again at the wallpaper.
"What are you doing here?" It was a woman, in a plaid shirt, older, husky, rugged, and giving the immediate impression that she worked exclusively out-of-doors, possibly in the wilderness, yet her voice was passive, weak, and hoarse from crying. She stood in the doorway, a cup of over-hot dispenser coffee in her hand.
"I want her to wake up," he said, turning his attention to the woman in plaid.
"Do you," she said, her voice quivering.
"It's not fair. There was nothing there, and then she was there, in front of me. What was she thinking? My arm is shattered because of this. I need my arm to work. She's changed my life and--"
The coffee cup dropped to the floor, the thin styrofoam slit up the side, and coffee spread out, a tidal wave on the linoleum tile. The fist of the woman in plaid landed on his chin. He spun backward, onto the bedframe. The back of his skull shattered on a metal vertex. He slumped as blood flooded to the wound, and he slid into the coffee, unconscious.