Lo que sigue es un pequeño cuento en inglés que escribí a principios de 2011.
Frank looked at his coffee once again, still doubting whether to drink it or not. Finally, he decided it was too cold for his taste, and with an evident bad mood, put the cup on the little table of the room. He didn’t like hospitals, mainly because of the smell of cleanness and antibiotics, which, ironically, made him feel sick.
It was still raining outside. He stood next to the window for some minutes, and then turned back to look at the young girl lying on the stretcher. “If it wasn’t for this stupid rain I wouldn’t have hit you with my car, I’m so sorry.” But her eyes were still closed and she couldn’t hear his apologies.
His bad mood had now turned into an anguish that descended from his head and was pressing hard inside his chest. He sat down in a chair, staring at the cables hanging from the girl’s body, not sure if he was feeling angry with life or sad with the situation. Probably, it was a little bit of both.
“Why on Earth did this happen to me? I’m not perfect, you know, my life is a complete mess since — ” his voice began to sound painful. “I’ve made my mistakes, but I can’t… I just can’t carry with killing someone.”
Exhausted, and while he wondered where the hell were all the doctors, he couldn’t avoid falling asleep. It had been a long day.
“Wake up, Frank.”
A woman’s voice talked to him with great calm. He tried to open his eyes at once, but a strong clarity didn’t allow him. It felt as if the nurse’s white clothes were shinning like a small sun inside the room. Only after blinking for some seconds he could finally see with no trouble.
“What time is it?”
“About 4 A.M.”
“So I slept only half an hour? My eyes burn as if I had been sleeping for days.”
The nurse introduced herself; her name was Zoe, and she had came to take care of the girl he had accidentally hit.
“Doctors are occupied with an emergency, but I am here now. I will take care of Emma, and she will be okay, don’t worry.”
After hearing these words, Frank picked up his coat and car keys, and before walking to the door, he almost drank the cup of coffee on the table, but immediately remembered it was cold. With nothing else to do, he looked at Zoe to say goodbye, but she spoke beforehand:
“What are you doing?”
“I’m leaving,” and while scratching his head he then added, “I hate hospitals. But it’s okay, right? You said she’ll be fine, so — ”
“She will wake up in a few minutes, don’t you think you should talk to her and apologize?”
Zoe kept looking at Frank with her incredible penetrating dark eyes, waiting for an answer. She was a black woman, and her teeth and clothes were almost impossibly white. Somehow, her presence was very imposing, and Frank couldn’t avoid looking down and answering with some shame in his voice, “Yes, you’re right.”
He had just realised that probably he would have to stay there the whole night, so he loosened a little his tie, sighed deeply, and walked back to his chair.
A moment later, he looked at Zoe, who was holding Emma’s hand, and with a puzzled face, he asked her: “How do you know she’ll wake up in a few minutes?”
“Well, she is very badly injured, but I’ve been sent here to make sure she opens her eyes.”
“Yes, but — ” Frank paused to stand up, and then continued. “How do you know that her name is Emma? The hospital couldn’t reach her family because no one knows who the hell she is.”
Zoe’s face looked as if she had been caught doing something bad.
“In fact,” he continued, “how did you know my name is Frank? Nobody asked me for it since we’ve arrived.”
The room remained in an awkward silence for some seconds. “Well, it’s complicated, Frank,” said Zoe.
“I will leave now. But — ” Zoe took a deep breath and went on, “do me a favor Frank, and don’t blame yourself, you’re a good person.”
Frank was frowning now, beginning to feel more and more confused. He knew she wasn’t talking about the accident that had happened a couple of hours ago. There was something deeper in her eyes: Zoe knew him, and it seemed that really well. He tried to say something, anything, but couldn’t.
A couple of seconds later, Zoe walked out the door. Even though he didn’t understand what had just happened, maybe — just maybe — Zoe was right, and that made him feel a little better about everything.
“Well,” he thought, “that was odd.” Then he sat down again, looking at Emma, and began to drink his coffee, which now had just the right temperature for his taste.