Bed11, Day3 – First Cup of Coffee (fiction)
The first cup of coffee I had after the accident was the best of my life. The guy who picked me up at the side of the road and brought me to the hospital, he brought me coffee while I waited in Emergency. He even held the cup for me and tilted it at just the right angle so I could drink it.
That first sip rolling around in my mouth, it was hot, bitter heaven. It scorched my tongue in a most satisfying way.
â€œYou can go,â€ I said to the guy. He shook his head. He was a young man and a serious cyclist. He wore stretchy pants and a reflective jacket and shoes that clicked when he walked me down the hospital hallway.
â€œI’ll stay until we find out what’s what,â€ he said. The ‘we’ part of his sentence was so touching. He was obviously well-raised.
â€œI really feel all right,â€ I said. I had said it before; in the cab on the way to the hospital; when he found me sitting on the curb; and to myself, minutes before that, after the car that knocked me down had spun out and disappeared.
â€œYou never know, ma’am,â€ he said, â€œI was hit one time and I thought I was fine and then weeks later I had a pain in my shoulder and it turned out it was broken.â€
â€œPlease don’t call me ma’am,â€ I said.
He smiled. â€œOK.â€
Bodies slumped in chairs all over the waiting room. The intake nurse had only smiled professionally when I asked how long it would be until I was seen.
â€œDid you get a coffee for yourself?â€ I asked my rescuer.
â€œNo, I don’t drink it,â€ he said. He made a face and I saw a little boy under his scruffy beard.
â€œOh, it is the stuff of gods,â€ I insisted, and without asking, he brought the cup up to my lips again and helped me drink.
â€œWhat happened,â€ I said, â€œthe time you got hit?â€
He sat back in his chair and cracked his knuckles.
â€œIt was a car door,â€ he said, â€œI was new at the job, I was a bike courier, right? And I was new at it and when you’re downtown, weaving in and out of all those cars and buses and pedestrians, you gotta have eyes like a cat. You gotta see everything a few minutes before it happens. Eventually you learn how to do that, but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Anyway –â€
He stopped talking because I shivered. I couldn’t seem to stop, even though I didn’t feel cold.
â€œYou know what,â€ he said, â€œit doesn’t matter. I’m OK now.â€
He put his arm around me and squeezed just enough to make the shivering stop.