Terry Little

FEEL: A Short Story, by Terry Little

His molars teetered in their crevices, and his front teeth jittered in centimeter motions knawing away its protective coat. The pain to his side ascended a new level, not that he’d never felt pain like it before, because though not physically, he had emotionally, and to a degree they were undoubtedly similar.
Never meeting such pain before he’d have entered the prison system a weak man–caring about what others thought, or their feelings or being happy and smiling because of some private moment, it was all irrelevant, so he dealt with no emotions.
Inauspicious events of his past destroyed a warmer side of him years ago, events that was currently costing him nearly half his life and made him who he now was–a man with nothing to lose, a man allotted aside to a category of “didn’t dos and who done its.” A man without a smile and no one cared…no one.
With two hands the guard standing outside the van to the right latched on to Darren’s large bicep and helped him out of the van’s constrained cab. He was unable to step down by himself being that he was restrained by Kempko steel ankle chains and hand cuffs, without any help, unintentionally barreling out of the van was a likely scenario.
Once on the ground the officer to his left led the way toward the back entrance of the hospital, the other followed behind as Darren gradually, careful not to cause anymore damage to his ankles than what the shackle’s cuffs had already done a foot at a time followed the lead guard.
inside the hospital’s narrow blue carpeted hall nurses and doctors tentatively stared as they passed by leaving behind a trail of disgruntled whispers. It wasn’t a secret that they were’nt fond of out patient care, however, their despise laid with criminals. “Why are we required to care for them?” Said one nurse, meaning for Darren to hear the rhetoric. But still, Darren could care less. His six–two, two hundred and twenty pound stature and dark skin was a walking judgement case, it was in the courtroom twelve years ago and it was now, nothing had changed, just his apathy to what people felt.
They stepped inside the waiting area, the lead guard stepped up to the window announcing who they were there with.
“You’ll be seen shortly, please have a seat.” Said the young woman.
Six people were waiting to be seen. Two older black men, well kept with a jazzy appearance. An older black woman also, when Darren took a seat she stared momentarily, the look was intended to be unreadable, but the look of shame was etched between the shrubb of her aged wrinkles. A look of being spat in the face, a look that questioned whether the fight civil right activists put up was worth it. Another judgement, but still, It didn’t matter what she thought.
An older white couple, or so assumed, as the man carressed the woman’s frail hand while she sat in obvious pain in her wheel chair. Darren didn’t care about her pain, he had his own pain to worry about.
The doctor at the prison told him it was probably a pulled muscle, that was six months ago, but since, the pain had progressed. Subsequently an xray was done then an ultrasound, but nothing turned up. With nothing discovered and the pain still lingering the doctor requested he be given a ct scan.
He’d never had one done, didn’t know what it did, or its purpose, but he didn’t care, he was just ready to get it over with and figure out what was wrong with him.
Minutes later they were told to go over to the xray wing. More stares followed as they walked up the long hall. Darren kept his eyes forward, disregarding the glances. The ct scan waiting area was had three occupants. A young Latino woman was engulfed in a conversation on her phone. She spoke in Spanish, a perk when keeping people out of what was being said, even though it was sort of the second language of Americans, no one let on to knowing what was being said, though it was the considerate thing to do.
Upon seeing Darren in his prison garb and shackles the young woman ended her call, rose from her seat and walked over to the receptionists’ desk and grabbed the woman’s attention with a tap on the window.
Head against the wall behind him, he kept his eyes to the ceiling feeling the obvious dreading of results amongst those in the room and a tension of fear behind his presence.
“Can I help you ma’am?” Asked the receptionist.
“Yes, I would like to reschedule my appointment.”
The receptionist didn’t act surprised. She rescheduled the young woman as requested. “Is one week from now okay?”
“Wensday, Yes that’s fine.” The young woman replied. She tightened her grip on her phone and wasted no time leaving the room.
The behavior was expected. He shut his eyes and concentrated on the sound of the TV mounted on the wall. The news was on. A reporter spoke of a massive internet scam involving a rich celebrity. He was being charged with fraud. From one sense to another, the smell of the room had a sort of nostalgic whiff of excessive usage of cleaner, washed bed sheets and new medical utensils. The last time he sat in the waiting room of a hospital he had overdosed on asprins as a child.
The door to the room opened, an older black woman entered followed by a child. The woman was jovial and too old to be the kids mother. The boy was no more than six years of age, he too was happy. They enjoyed each other.
But why?
He lulled his head back and shut his eyes drowning out the child’s lively play and the woman’s precocious giggles. The unwelcomed happiness stopped abruptly, then the sound of a wrapper crinkling beside Darren distracted his peace. He opened his eyes and stared down at the side table, on it was an orange starburst. Across the room the little boy and the woman smiled at him,
the guards pretended not to see a thing.
Darren didn’t know what to think, nor what to feel, he was overwhelmed with a mixture of odd emotions.

Terry Little
DOC #562207

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