She's out of intensive care now. Another seizure, another crisis. It's been this way for weeks. My sister. Bad car accident six months ago and the resultant shrapnel. This was my night to come and sit vigil. The three of us take turns: her husband, my brother and I.

I find a quiet corridor and start down the phone call list (pulled from my pocket, a crumbled up paper placemat from Denny's). First Frank, then Mike, then her best friends. At the end of the list is my apartment. No answer. Probably phone off the hook, its 3 a.m. She knows where I am.

Look up at the round white/black clock on the wall. It's so quiet in this hallway I can hear the whirl of the second hand and the click whenever another minute goes by.


Time to go find caffeine. I head downstairs for some machine gunk and there she is, wearing my green raincoat over her p.j.s. Holding two large styrofoams from the place across town. Real coffee. I give her my best weary smile and walk towards her. She leans against the wall and holds one arm across her face as she tries to hide a yawn. I take the coffee from her and lean sideways against the wall, closing my eyes...


She wraps her arms around me and puts her face against my back.

I couldn't sleep... she whispers.

She doesn't lie very well.

But she is so still. And I can hear her breathing-bringing life to this lifeless place. And I can't hear the clock anymore.