She picked up a magenta-red crayon and headed it toward today’s objective, curly-cues of no special meaning among a field of flowers that someone else had crafted. Sometimes she wondered if it made her a slacker to color in a coloring book instead of drawing her own outlines, but her mind, her heart and her being were so ravaged by the disaster that there wasn’t even enough space to feel guilty. Not that guilt would’ve helped anyway. And she wasn’t sure yet if coloring would help either, or if it even might already be helping.

Well, at least it was helping to fill the time. The endless hours, days, weeks already, of being still, of waiting to heal.

No, that’s not right. Waiting to heal isn’t right. Waiting to heal is like trying to plant vegetables, isn’t it? She thought. Back when she’d had legs that functioned properly and the freedom to spend endless-yet-speeding time in her garden, when walking, bending, squatting, stooping, sitting, leaning, or stretching hadn’t required any special equipment other than her own body or anyone else’s participation outside of her own thoughts, how long ago was that time? A glance at the wall – – but oh, that’s right, there isn’t a calendar here, in this room. A clock, yes, a different kind of calendar. But nothing on paper, with beautiful photographs of sunsets or galloping horses or Rodin sculptures or celestial bodies spinning in their beauty…adorned these walls. White boards, yes. Tubes and electrical lines and outlets, yes. Hideous, so-called “artwork” meant to appeal? Really? To the lowest common denominator of patient…wait.

Stop. That kind of thinking isn’t helpful either. Where was I? Oh my god, the garden. My precious, sacred, beautiful garden. Back in the days when she’d had legs that functioned properly she planted vegetables throughout the year. She didn’t *try* to plant vegetables. She just planted them. How did I get to planting vegetables? What was I thinking about a minute ago? Effing painkillers. I can’t hold a useful thought in my brain for more than three holy seconds at a time… I’ve got to heal. I’ve got to heal. That’s how I got here, I was thinking about trying to heal and it’s like vegetables, you either plant them or you don’t.

I. Planted. Vegetables. I. Am. Healing. I. Am. Healing. I Am. Healing. Oh shit, I’ve colored all the curly-cues this magenta and I only meant to color SOME of them this color, which I don’t even particularly like, anyway. Stop. Breathe. I can’t walk, at least not right now. But I can breathe. And I can color. And I can decide what to do about these asinine magenta curly-cues. Ride the horse in the direction it’s going, who said that? It’s, what? A Buddhist thing, I think? Go with the flow, is what people say. The flow. Where is the flow? I’ll just pretend that these crayons are rivers. This is actually a very nice color of blue, this one here, sort of a steely blue, like a cornflower blue but with some grey in it that makes it more subtle. I will use this crayon and follow this river to see where it goes. Magenta and steely blue. These two colors. They seem familiar together. Where from? The garden store? Really? Oh, yeah, it was that little flag on a post that was at the garden store and I thought it was pretty and I put it in the garden, at the corner where the blueberries are because the blue sort of reminded me of the blueberries when they still have that coating on them of condensation, is it? Or is it just blueberry fuzz? Or is it they only have that greyish outer look when the sun hits them a certain way? Or is it my eyes? Is the gray in my eyes?

Hahahahaha! That’s a kick. Your eyes are deep brown, you goonball, never gonna change.

I do love blueberries.

Oh my gosh, look at this! This coloring book page – – I think I’m done! Did I color in everything? Some parts of the design are so tiny, which is why I had to actually shave some of the crayons to make the points sharp enough to fit into those teeny-tiny lines. Yeah! Look! Everything is filled in! I really like how that magenta and blue look together, and I have to say the other colors are great where I put them… can’t believe I didn’t think this would be fun when Dolores gave me this set of crayons and the book last night when she was here during visiting hours. Dolores, I’m sorry, I should’ve been more gracious when I said thank you. Wait. Did I say thank you? I can’t even remember …. Didn’t she say she was coming back in a few days? I’ll let her know then. Maybe I should give her this page. It’s really pretty, I’m liking it now. But no, I don’t think I want give it to her. Do I? Maybe I’ll ask her if she could tape it to the wall for me there, at the foot of the bed, so I can see it. And she can look at it with me, which is almost as good as giving it to her. Isn’t it?

It looks like my garden. I can see it and think of my garden and the vegetables. While I am healing. I am healing. I am healing. Actually, there’s a whole section of this crayon box that I didn’t even take any of the crayons out yet. Hmmm. Browns and greys and yellows, eh?

I think I’ll try another page while I’m healing.

Photo by Sonya Lynn on Unsplash

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  1. Wonderful storytelling through POV – very strong scene. I love how quickly you get me invested in your characters.

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