The hospital; a place no one wants to be. Whether an overnight guest, a long-term resident, or simply a temporary visitor; everyone at some point along the way has been there. Most seek help from the professional pain killers, also known as physicians, or doctors of medicine. Perhaps a prescription Quaalude to quell your sequestering appetite for Methadone after the last nights’ heroin crusade. Anything to help get through the night. Others simply seek shelter at the infirmary as refuge; a protected safe haven from the madness and the mental, physical, emotional, and psychological storms that exist beyond the brick and mortar corridors of the hospital. But yet outside those doors there’s something familiar along the backdrop of the midnight sky. Not easily identifiable but definitely recognizable. Just one of those instances in which you can’t seem to put your finger on it exactly. To some extent it’s like a case of deja-vu. Have I seen or witnessed this before? Perhaps stumbled across it somewhere during my travels. Perhaps in a dream. Almost like that distant cousin from deep down south that you haven’t seen in many years. Especially since the very last annual Thanksgiving gathering that was held right before Grandmother passed. The face is recognizable, just can’t remember her name.
Outside the hospital, beautifully landscaped foliage somewhat keeps her invisible from nearby strangers and passerby’s. A patchwork quilt hugs the top of the concave, concrete sidewalk she lies on. A ball of rolled up clothing provides a soft sanctuary in which she rests her head from a long, strenuous day. It’s well after 2 a.m. and she’s resting so comfortably. At what point did it become easy for her to sleep so well there. I wonder what her name is. Is she hungry? Is she asleep? Can she hear my thoughts of concern? I wonder what her story is. Was there something that broke her spirit or simply crushed her will to survive? What tampered with her ability to fight to live a normal life? Shit, but then again, what is a normal life? Three annulled instances of love, often referred to as divorces. At least six kids before you stopped counting, massive foreclosures, and a slew of unfavorable liens on your life. Up to your neck in debt. Fuck that! Hell, maybe she’s the smart one.
I’ve encountered her before, yes…many times. We pretend not to see her by trying not to make eye contact. God forbid she ask for something. When did spare change become too much to spare? Just understand this; even the ghost lady has a name and a purpose. It’s just that her story is never told. Open your eyes and stop pretending that she’s invisible. She just needs a voice. So today I gladly open my mouth for the ghost lady.