Nov 022011
Authors: Justin Goodfellow

Editor’s note: This is the tenth installment of the fiction story “Inside the Hollow Sun.” The story will run in Verve throughout the semester.

I ran. The streets were dark and empty. All I could hear was the panting of my breath. I’d had more to drink than I thought, and I felt dizzy. It wasn’t long before I ended up crouched over, vomiting into a gutter. I hadn’t been able to get Elizabeth to tell me what happened. She had just said she was in the hospital with Greg, and then she lost it. I tried to get her to settle down on the phone, but she just kept crying, and eventually I hung up and left.

After my stomach emptied its contents, I stood back up and walked fast. The hospital was only 15 blocks away from my apartment and walking would be quicker than waiting for the bus. I thought back to the last time Greg and I talked. It had been a while ago. A couple weeks? Maybe more? I couldn’t remember exactly. This is the type of friend I had become to him.

Entering the hospital, I whipped my head around the room. The lobby was empty aside from a lone nurse behind the secretary desk. She looked up at me and I watched as her mouth curved down into a frown. I imagined being in her shoes and seeing me walk in—a frantic, scuffed up man searching the lobby, dried vomit on his shirt and blood shot eyes bulging. I would have frowned at it too.

“Can I help you?” she asked softly.

“I’m looking for Greg Lee-Schulz,” I gasped, still out of breath. The nurse checked her computer screen.

“Right, Mr. Lee-Schulz is still in ER. The waiting room for that is just down this hall.” She pointed to her right.

I turned without another word and walked. I got to the waiting room and saw Elizabeth sitting, tear trails, fresh and dry, all down her cheeks. She got up and ran into my arms. I held her and let her cry into my shoulder.

“What happened?” I asked her.

“It shouldn’t be this way,” she whispered as she trembled against me. We stood in our embrace, and waited.

A few hours passed before someone came out to talk to us. Elizabeth had settled down, and I had bought coffee for us to sip on.

“He fell,” Elizabeth told me. “He fell down some stairs. All I know is his leg started to spasm on some stairs and he lost his balance.”

She proceeded to tell me about the other things I’d missed in the past few months. Greg’s Parkinson’s disease had gotten worse. So had his anxiety. She said he missed me being around. She told me everything I already knew, but refused to acknowledge until now.

The doctor came up to us, the only two in the waiting room. “Are you here for Mr. Lee-Schulz?” she asked.

“Yes,” Elizabeth replied. “Is he okay? What’s going on?”

“I’m sorry,” said the doctor. “Mr. Lee-Schulz took a real bad fall. We tried everything we could think of, but we couldn’t save him.”

My stomach sank. Greg, my best friend, was dead.

_Fiction writer Justin Goodfellow can be reached at _

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