Television has done the imagination no favors. As my wife lies in an operating room having her appendix removed, I picture a dark space defined by fields of bright lights, rimmed by squeaks and beeps and rhythmic oxygen machines while the surgeon through the miracle of laparoscopy plays a video game to remove the offending organ.
Things like infected appendexes never seem to occur during normal business hours. They wait for the cover of dark to reveal their dirty deeds. They bide the creeping of hours when a clock is in sight, then cause the hands to advance at some dizzying rate when you are distracted to claim more dark territory, more isolation. Things like this force your hand when you should be clothed in peace in the company of sleeping dogs.
As I write, the hospital’s hallowed halls are hollow and still. The only disturbance the hum of HVAC and the occasional whine of some squeaky wheeled object in nocturnal transit from A to B. The silence affords wandering thoughts and devout prayer.
Mickey says when the little hand is on 4 and the big hand is on 12, it means I still have an hour before Dr. Khan finds me to deliver the expected news of health regained through a surgical exorcism of Jean-Marie’s possessed organ. The hours may have cheated in transit between 8:30 and 1:30, but now they repent that dishonesty creeping three-legged through this waiting.
I sit in this waiting room alone. The space filled by shadows and half light and the sound of the scrawl of my pen. When the room is filled, voices stay hushed out of respect of the waiting of others. Alone I am hushed in respect to the void I find myself in, silently praying the rosary for the warrior/surgeon to conquer the dragon in the video game he plays. Appendectomies are routine things, I know this. Yet I am bound by unbidden gravity. Fifty minutes now until the surgeon. I am haunted by the quiet clock that cannot even show me the respect of ticking seconds in its glacial pace.