Red Coat

She’s wearing the same coat as me.

It’s hard to miss with the bright red bows and frills against the hospital walls. Her boots click along the floor like she’s on a catwalk. Dark jeans wrap around her perfect legs as she passes people in hospital gowns and wheelchairs.

I can’t look away as she walks towards me. For a sweet moment, my mind is somewhere other than upstairs with him. I can’t hear the damn beeps of machines. His strangled coughs. Heavy breathing. Can’t see him stranded in the bed like a beached whale. His eyes staring through me.

She gets closer. For once, my insides don’t pull at each other and my heart isn’t ready to fall and burst, too strained to hold itself. Caught in a trance, I don’t think of anything. I don’t worry.

Up close, her eyes are puffy. Her face is red enough to match the coat. Her hair is thrown up because she’s too busy to do anything more. Her eyes stare ahead, not seeing anything. Staring through me.

Somewhere in the distance, someone coughs.

I quicken my step, hands shoved into the pockets of my coat. 

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