Sep 072011
 
Authors: Justin Goodfellow

Editor’s note: This is the third installment of the fiction story “Inside the Hollow Sun,” which will appear every week in Verve throughout the semester.

I couldn’t stop scratching at the bandages. This was the third time I’d had to replace them since Friday. They would start out on my wrists white like the hallways of the trauma center. They were a type of white that held hope that first time I’d gone to therapy. The first time I saw Elizabeth. I could still remember—

“Can I help you?” the receptionist had asked.

“Uh, yeah actually,” I’d replied, “I’m here for therapy.” She looked at me for a moment, wanting something I couldn’t guess.

“Great. Name please?”

My nerves had control. “Oh,” I nodded, “Harrison Knapp-Hem.” She looked back down to her computer and started typing.

“Go back to the elevator, but take a left at the hallway just before it,” she said without looking up from her monitor. “You want room 534, Dr. Clermont.”

“Thanks,” I said as I turned around and headed back through the lobby. The receptionist’s directions took me through a small white hallway filled with people. They were sitting in chairs, waiting. Everything looked clean, and like it had a place. It was the same type of comfort a hospital gives. I went to the end of the hall and sat down in a chair next to 534. A girl sat across from me next to 533.

I opened a book I’d brought and pretended to read. I started glancing up from time to time, trying to catch her eye, but she seemed to be staring somewhere. I made sure to tilt the cover of my book toward her anyway. I’d brought an old hard copy of “The Great Gatsby” even though I’d only read the sequel, “Gatsby’s Manor.” Blinking seemed rare for her, and I didn’t notice her eyes ever shift in any direction other than straight. I finally risked staring. Her eyes were glassy and completely gray.

I heard 534 creak open behind me and a voice leaked out, “Mr. Knapp-Hem?” Dr. Clermont entered the hallway. He was an older man, freshly shaven with thin, graying hair on his head. His eyes were droopy, and I stood up to face him.

“Yeah, that’s me,” I said.

“Right this way,” he replied with a sweeping gesture. I followed him into room 534. I turned back and saw a man stick his head out of 533.

“Elizabeth?” the man asked the girl as Dr. Clermont shut his office door behind me.

I noticed I was scratching again. Parts of my bandages had turned from white to a pinkish red. I grabbed my phone and dialed Elizabeth. Her vision impairment had left her absent from the world of text messaging.

“Hello?”

“Hey, it’s Harrison.”

“Hey, what’s up?”

“I need help changing my bandages. Can I come over?”

“For Christ’s sake, Harrison, again?”

“Yeah, I promise I’ll leave them alone this time,” I lied, “I just want them to be fresh for therapy.”

“I’ll help you in the morning when you pick me up. I’m going to bed now, goodnight.”

“Come on,” I pleaded before hearing a click. She had hung up.

F_iction writer Justin Goodfellow can be reached at verve@collegian.com_

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