In the bright hall beyond the doorway a man just choked to death, he choked to death as the orderlies ran frantically to his aid, as shouts cascaded down the hall and up the walls to the ceiling and into this room, where I and the other four patients craned our necks and situated our bodies for a more advantageous view. Right outside my door, I looked in the man’s eyes as he was dying, the strong glare weighed down with every life experience flashing somewhere behind, the forced resignation and sadness. The four others I share the room with all watch me furtively, they glance from the chaos in the hall and then to me, as if I’m supposed to explain it all to them, not just the man who choked to death in the hall but life, all life, all the violence and chaos and love, they’re probably wondering who is the man writing in the notebook and what could he possibly be writing about, is it a journal, a book, is it important, why all the mystery, why is he writing at all, shouldn’t he be resting, lying down like us, watching the orderlies remove the man from the hallway, whoever he was? What could he possibly be writing about, is he a pamphlet writer, is he one of those subversive types, and are we in any danger being close to him like this?
Or maybe they’re not thinking about me at all.
But who was that dead man, really, and what was he choking on? Because we’re all people and we’re all curious, we think inquisitively, we ask ourselves questions and then answer them. Question and answer and then question and answer, continued ad nauseum. Or perhaps I’m underestimating the four I share the room with, perhaps they’re lying there glancing or glaring at me and thinking very profound and important things, for their life and their experience is just as difficult, just as unique as mine, and we are all equal, lying here wounded in our wounded world.