Thunderstorms raging outside. It’s quiet in here. Patients look up from their beds as I pass their rooms. Our eyes meet. Who is he? Who is he here for? When can I go home. Continue down the hallway past the nurses’ station to a back room. No one there but him. He smiles. So happy to see me. Asks me to reposition his arms. Flip the pillow behind my head. Please give me a sip of water, won’t you. Some soda. My God you have no idea. Shasta never tasted so good.
I lift halves of an egg salad sandwich on whole wheat over and over again to his mouth. He scoops each bite with his lips, chews and swallows. Pauses. Scoops chews and swallows. Pauses. Scoops chews and swallows. Occasionally I wipe the sides of his mouth. Nothing left but rinds. I spoon feed him some sliced peaches and pears. He sucks up the juice with a straw.
The feeding tube is silent. Thunderstorms still raging. His first day of solid food.