By S.A. Murison
Although the hospital was just renovated, it still has the same antiseptic smell of all hospitals. No matter how much bleach is used, Patrick still thinks all hospitals smell of urine and death.
Elizabeth has come to see him after four years, and all he wants to do is take her to the hospital. She agrees. She almost always let him lead the way. Today is no different.
He walks her up a ramp with pictures drawn by children. Cancer patients, he explains. Elizabeth had not been there with him for those many months of chemotherapy, but rather, his wife.
He opens a glass door and steps with Elizabeth out onto a rooftop garden. A bamboo wood pathway curves past tall feathered grasses and early blooming daffodils. There is a glass wall that overlooks the downtown skyline. Elizabeth walks over to the glass and touches it with her fingers. She smiles.
“This reminds me of that apartment you had in the South End. “ Suddenly, he remembers that place. The place he moved to when she left him.
“If you stood a certain way, you could see the Hancock Tower.” He remembers that too. Remembers the night she was there and his arms coming around her while he rested his chin on her shoulder. Grateful that she was there, but still hating her for giving up on them. She married someone else. Eventually, he did as well.
The wind lifts his hair and he is back in the rooftop garden overlooking the skyline. He stands behind her watching the wind blow her sweater open. He catches the scent of her in the breeze—he does not recognize her perfume anymore. He hardly knows her at all anymore. And yet, he was compelled to bring her here to this place, to show her this view of the skyline. To see her obvious joy as she touched the glass and recalled street names to him. He allows himself to stand close enough to her so that her sweater flaps against his arm.