The hospital was all right. The food they served was good, though it could have used thirty more seconds in the microwave. It was mostly veggies, and lord knows I have had my fair share of those; I mean, I wasn’t expecting a party, with pizzas or pies, but some rice or pastas never killed anyone. Besides, we were there do die anyway, so even if it did kill someone, it would have been fine altogether. I mean, except for the families, of course. But death by pizza; there are worse ways to go, right?
They had this strange habit of wheeling me outside everyday, even when it rained. They attached some sort of umbrella to the chair, got me all tied up in several scarves, and pushed me everywhere outside. “See there, Mr. Logan? That’s where Dr. Hugot will settle his new cabinet”, “see the bright flowers over there, Mr. Logan? Spring is gonna be here anytime now”, “Not cold, are you Mr. Logan?” I used those as my personal rythm. They uttered at least five a day, six tops. So when the first one came out, I knew I was an hour and a half away from returning to my room. I did not pay attention to the landscape anymore; it had been the same every since I first stepped wheel there. Nothing had changed, everything just grew old – or older.
Sometimes they would get me by surprise, and when I thought I was finally getting back to my room, they would brake me in the garden. They parked me in front of the willow tree, next to a marble table that nobody really ever used. Jacob was the only one that I ever saw close to it, and all he did was throw up on it in one of his fits. They let me rot there, without anything to do, I figured they must have been cleaning my room or something to that extent, so I did not complain much. I used to be one hell of a loudmouth as a younger man, but growing old as a way to soften you up, and to shut you down. But the garden was a fairly nice place to be stuck with anyway, I just wished that by that time we would have found a way to get rid of insects. And it was there too, that they started paying me visits. Old friends, male, female, dead friends. They came and they sat, and we talked and laughed. The nurses kept on eye on me and saw me happy; they parked me there almost everyday after it all started. The friends continued to come and go, never twice at the same time which, to be honest, I found quite odd. I wondered if anyone had fallen out of touch with anyone else; maybe it was just me. I always used to believe that life had a way of separating people – such a way that you never even realized you were being torn apart.
It lasted a month. Perhaps two. You do not have the same perception of time when your days are repetitive. And somebody had stolen my watch. My old beautiful watch; stolen. I figured at first, that it might have been one of the nurses, but I quickly realized that it would have constituted a serious breach of nursery ethics – that is, of course, if there is such a thing. I used to believe in ethics, and I used to believe the world used to believe in it too. Fools errands constantly happen, and you never get any wiser. I quickly came to realize that George had suddenly managed to arrive right on time during entertainment sessions; and that, started right when my watch vanished. I remembered all my time spent reading those detective novels, Marlowe, Hammer, Belane, all those names I felt close too, and all of a sudden it was 1994 again. What a sad, sad year : Cobain, Bukowski, Gingrich, Bieber. I wasn’t too sure about the last name, but Walter did mention it when we talked about 1994. I could not get to know if it was death related or not. That was the thing there, and in places like that one : people constantly talked about the past. They talked about how everything was better, about how they longed for it, about how their days were glorious, about how pollution wasn’t such a problem, about how democrats could still hold their own, about how people weren’t that stupid, about how life and technology hadn’t melt yet; basically, they talked about anything. And it wasn’t really to talk, or even to complain, I think there is something inherent to that attitude; we all come to long for our past, at some point at least. But when you’re old, and cold, and tired, it gets even worse.
That day, they wheeled me out again and they went back at it. “See the flowers there, Mr. Logan? Beautiful aren’t they?”, “Didn’t you tell me you liked poetry, Mr. Logan? I personally think that guitar is a form of poetry”. We passed in front of a couple of children, fourteen, fifteen, probably visiting some old grandpa or grandma. “Jeez, did you see that ugly old bastard?” one of them said. “Yup, probably what death on wheels looks like” the other one replied, and I laughed heartily. We did the lap one more time, which was ruining my tradition. But they eventually came to park me in my spot once again, although they forgot about the brakes. With a single movement of the arms, I pushed myself forward, one last time and