It was quieter in the hospital today- a Thursday, so not many people were visiting. But, as usual, the nurses were making quiet rounds to the rooms, checking monitors, adjusting doses, taking temperatures, the usual monotony of the hospice wing of Holy Trinity Hospital.
This wing, however, always had a darker cloud hanging over it on quiet days like this, as the relative calm usually meant something had happened; something saddening, a loss of life, or a painful diagnosis, typically followed by hushed crying in one of the rooms.
On this day, it was a young girl, no more than sixteen or so, struck with the tag of “terminal case”, like all the other inhabitants in that particular hall. Her days, like many, were coming closer to an end.
A nurse was quietly standing by the room, waiting to administer medication, watching a frightening scene unfold.
The girl was lying thin and bandaged in the sterile bed, the machine attached to her arm beeping slowly, irregularly. Her eyes fluttered, and her hand twitched, alerting the boy sitting at her side. His head snapped up.
“Evie?” he muttered, voice hopeful, “You awake?”
The girl didn’t respond, and continued staring at the ceiling blankly. Slowly, she struggled with words.
The boy began nodding, tears dripping down his cheek.
“I know. I know. I’m sorry… I’m sorry… if I hadn’t asked you to hurry you would be okay. You’re going to be okay, I promise. You’re g-going to be…”
There was a pause, and the monitor skipped a beep too many. Slowly, it became almost regular again, and the air seemed to filter back into the room. Evie muttered something about rain and winter. The boy laughed almost hysterically.
“No, you’re talking nonsense… it’s your favorite season…” he assured her, “It’s spring, it’s sunny, and there are b-birds and…”
More silence. No beeping. The girl’s eyelids fluttered closed, and the boy held her hand so tightly the nurse almost broke the silence to say something.
“Open your eyes Evie. Look at the birds! O-open your eyes, please! Look o-over t-there, the c-cardinal in that tree by the p-parking lot. The snow’s melting, there’ll be puddles, lots of them, remember when Jackie used to jump in puddles and splash us? Y-you hated getting w-wet, and you would y-yell at him. Just open your eyes Evie, please… just…just…”
At this point the scene was too much for the nurse. She opened the door, and gently put a hand on his shoulder. He didn’t notice, because through his tears, he whispered to the dead girl lying peacefully amongst the sterile blankets.
“Can’t you see the birds, Evelyn?”