| The train clattered as it sped through the subway. As I sat in the dimly lit train car I studied the faces of the other passengers. From the front of the car a distressed woman coddled her screaming infant. Dark circles hung beneath her eyes. Her frizzy hair was tied back with a rubber band, only just keeping it out of her face. Closer to where I sat an older woman sat knitting. She was round and in other light may have appeared pleasant. The light of the train car made her wrinkles deep and cavernous. There weren't many of us traveling at this hour. It was four o'clock in the morning and only those of us who had to be up, were up.
I was making the long journey to my apartment on the south end of town. I had scarcely gotten off work and was ready to call it a night. I can only imagine the stories and destinations of the others on the train car. Perhaps some were headed home from a long night of work as well. Perhaps a few were headed in, and just starting their day. I can imagine that younger woman with the baby was headed home from a long night in the hospital with her sick child. She had a certain, worn, look on her face that I associate with staring at hospital walls for far too long. I know that face. It had been the face that I had worn over the past year and a half.
There is a wall in room three forty seven B in Saint Clair's Memorial Hospital that I know all too well. I have memorized every dimple in every brick, every crack, and literally every inch of that wall. I recall countless hours of counting and recounting the bricks as I waited for the doctor to come and deliver some kind of news. Memorizing the features of that wall helped keep my imagination at bay.