January 7, 2010
I stretched a latex glove over each hand and stared at the garbage can preparing for the dive.
I could read an eating disorder from its contents: the brand new jeans with the price tag still on them that were stuffed in like a lid to cover the leftover giant bottle of diet pills that had been emptied impulsively and heavily into a young girl’s stomach. I plunge my concern into the trash and stare at the fishing line until I feel something tug. My fingers lift out the dripping bottle. I play hot potato with the nurse who came to me wanting to know which kind of drugs were swimming through the girl’s bloodstream, neither of us wanting to own the pills or the bottle or the actions of a girl with mental health difficulties and a disfigured perception of herself.
Across the hall the man wearing the neck brace is breathing like a hard wind. He can’t breath, he can’t turn his head, and as his face grows red so does our urgency for someone to force air inside him. My sense of helplessness sizzles as the men from the ambulance walk him downstairs
past the drunk man who suggestively nods “Hey baby” my direction when only yesterday he greeted me sober with a “Good morning. I hope you’re doing well today.” Words of congratulation had floated about his 100 days clean, and I had only known him within those days. Here we stood at their end. His drooping eyes and red face comprised my flat sight of why he’s spent his life under bridges and what would easily sweep him there again.
The problems are always different, always varied, not always so urgently condensed into one day’s time. In every one there is a person’s eyes frantically searching, wondering, regressing, needing something something something.