ANTHOLOGY COMPLEX


THERAPEUTIC SILENCE (1:1:1:9)


It's been a little over a week since Joe has been in a coma. By now I thought that he would have been out of it, but he's not. The people that work at the hospital tell me that he only has a few relatives, and that they can't reach most of them. The ones that they actually do get a hold of don't want to visit, either because they live too far away or they aren't that close to Joe. In the end I guess he is stuck with me.

I'm on my way out to go visit him, this will probably be my last visit. I hope it's my last visit. I hope he wakes up soon and returns to business as usual. I walk through the front door of my apartment building and I see the woman who just moved in kneeling on the ground. She's gardening.

She looks up at me and smiles, and that's when I immediately remember a dream I had of her a couple of nights ago. In the dream she is helping me with something, but I can't remember what. It's unfortunate that I can't remember some dreams that I have as well as others. Sometimes I wake up knowing I just had a dream, but I can't remember the dream for the life of me.

I'm standing there, looking at her with a weird expression on my face and trying to remember this dream, then her smile begins to slowly fade. She asks me if I'm okay, and I tell her I was fine. I tell her it was weird to see her gardening because I had never seen anyone ever garden around an apartment building. I always thought that was done usually around houses or nice places. She gets up and she says to me, "Your home is your home." And slowly the smile grows back onto her face, and once again I can't do anything but smile back at her.

She's wearing a pair of jeans so I can't see her fake leg, but for a small amount of time I can't stop thinking about it. I didn't dare ask about it. She then starts to talk about how she didn't really introduce herself when I helped her move the television, and she tells me her name is Lynne. She tells me her kids' names are Sarah and David. A lovely family.

I asked her what kind of flowers she was planting, and she told me they were going to be zinnias. She told me it was going to be a shade garden. I didn't really know what she was talking about but I would find out when she was finished. A little while after talking, I see a woman walking her dog. She's walks in our direction as if she is going to enter our apartment building.

Lynne sees the lady a little after I do and she tells me it's her sister, Claire. Claire was coming over for dinner. Lynne introduces me to Claire, and then invites me over for dinner as well, but I tell her I have to meet a friend. Now across the street there is a man walking his dog. This man's dog and Claire's dog start barking at each other. Bark, bark, bark, it gets so annoying.

It starts to remind me of that terrible ringing sound. The phone ringing, ringing, ringing. Sometimes the ringing drives you so nuts you want to just break the phone and live the rest of your life in solitude. Bark, bark, bark. Now I want to kill the dogs. Stop barking. Lynne says goodbye to me, and she goes inside the building with Claire and her dog. The barking stops. I look at Lynne's work in progress and then leave.

The entire way to the hospital, on that dirty bus, I can't help but think if animals have souls. A lot of people say the difference between people and animals is that a person knows the difference between right and wrong. That people have a working moral compass. That people have a certain unexplainable bond with other life forms. But what about the dog that lays there next to its dead master, laying there with those eyes that want to cry. Laying there sad, and when it sees the person who killed its master, it begins to bark uncontrollably.

What about the goat and the horse that reside on the same farm who begin to go every where with each other, and begin to care for each other, so much that when one is sick the other stays by its side. What about the humans who hunt other humans. The sociopaths who kill for fun, for sport. The serial killers who show no remorse. What about the humans who strive to benefit financially off of wars that are unnecessary. Do they have any more of a soul than that dog, or that goat, or that horse?

I get to the hospital, and then to Joe's room and I sit on the chair. I think to myself, what's the point of this. It's not therapeutic for Joe. It does nothing for me. But still I sit, hoping that he will wake up so I don't have to come back here. I guess the only real reason I do it is because no one else has come to visit him.

How would it look if a man was never visited by anyone throughout the entire duration of his hospitalization. At least when he wakes up, if he wakes up, he will owe me.

After a while I begin to remember the dream that I couldn't remember. Something happened to me and I went to Lynne for advice. She was able to comfort me, to help me with this problem I had. This internal struggle that keeps me prisoner. It was this strong woman in a tiny body. This woman who tells jokes and gives life to plants even thought a part of her has been taken away, she guides me through this dark hallway with her slight limp and her bright yellow dress.