A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kim stares at the tray of hospital food. A disc of ham in a puddle of greenish gravy. Mashed potatoes flecked with potato skin, like a mound of dirty snow. For dessert, a dish of canned peaches, slick and glistening.

What Kim really wants is a hot dog. There's a man outside Sick Kids hospital selling them from a cart. If she raises herself on her elbows, she can see him from her bed. She can only hold herself up so long before, klunk, she drops back to the mattress. 

Kim is wearing one of her own flannel nightgowns from home. On her feet are red cotton socks. Not from home. Around her wrist is a tight hospital ID bracelet. She pulls at the plastic and her mother slaps her hand away. "Leave it," she says to Kim. 

It would be so much better if Rory, their dog were here instead of Mom. He'd lick her face and sleep at the foot of her bed, covering up those red socks. Rory would understand about the hot dog. 

All of the patients on this floor wear color-coded socks. The lucky ducks get green ones. The sort-of loosers get yellow. And then there are those kids who get red. Red means stop. It means you must stay in this bed, attached to machines that whir and beep and hiss. Don't you dare even think about popping out for a hot dog. 

Very soon, Kim will get up and walk, no, run outside. She'll tear the hospital bracelet from her wrist and let it fall to the ground. She will smell the smoke from the barbeque and stand under that big yellow umbrella and order herself a hot dog. Then she'll eat it with mustard dripping down her chin. 

She will do all this. She has to.


1 comment:

  1. Your heart goes out to her. I want to be her mother and bring her outside for a hotdog...(and bring her happy colourful rainbow socks!)

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