Empty
by atrum infractus


Every day, he watches the shadows dance across his wall untill the nurses come in. They don't always talk to him, and he doesn't like them much. He's not sure if it's just the nurses or how much he wants to go home, but he doesn't really care anymore.

Every day, he wonders where they are- why they haven't come to take him home. Because it's been a few months since they went home, and he's pretty sure that they should have come back by now. Whenever he gets the chance to point out their picture to a passerby, he tells them the same thing he tells himself every day; that they have a good reason, that they will be back soon. He's so caught up in explaining about the photographs, he rarely notices the spark of pity in his guest's eye.

Every day, he sees an older man with reddish hair that he recognizes, sometimes accompanied by a slender woman with light hair. He recognizes both of these people, and he tries talk to them- he can't quite remember their names, but he knows them- but they only wave back at him, their smiles tainted with sadness he doesn't want to see. He hears them talk to his doctor, then they leave. Sometimes he wonders why they don't talk to him, but he figures they're just busy, just like his family.

Every day, he wonders what happened to him. He thinks it must have been pretty bad, because his brother never even came to visit him. He usually gets a little sad when he thinks about this, but he's sure that's okay, because a lot of people around him are crying. Maybe they're sad too, but he wouldn't know the difference anymore.

Every day, he asks a nurse if he could have some chalk. They usually ask why, and it makes him confused. He doesn't know why he wants the chalk, he just knows that does. They act disgusted most of the time- like it's really their job to go buy chalk!- but occasionally there's a nice nurse on duty who brings him chalk every time she comes. He likes how the chalk feels in his hands, the warmth that he feels in his fingertips- he even likes the itching feeling that he's supposed to be writing something, but he can't figure out what that is yet. Of course, he likes her, too.

Every day, he doesn't see the elderly man he calls his father hessitate outside the door to his room, wondering if he should go in. He never sees him wipe away a few tears from his eyes before attempting to enter, just to rush away. He has never witnessed his father's weakness, and if he knew about the failed visits, he probably wouldn't want to anyway. But he does miss his father a lot.

Every day, he doesn't hear the phone ring, or hear his father answer it in his house. He doesn't hear his brother asking if he's made any improvements, or his father answering that he's been too busy to check. He doesn't hear the fights they've been having lately, usually about him. He doesn't hear his brother open up the fridge to grab just one more beer, trying to drown out his memory- but then again, no one else does either.

Every day, he thinks he's alone, but he doesn't know there's still a hole in the world he left behind, just waiting to be filled.