Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pitie Salpetriere

Ethan watched Brit with no small amount of amusement and husbandly pride as they meandered down the Boulevard de l’Hospital in Paris. She fingered the necklace of orange blossoms delighting in their citrus-like scent. Upon waking, he had picked the blossoms and boyishly strung them together for her to wear while she nibbled a croissant. Paris at night gave him glimpses and memories of the past. He found himself pleased to share the memories with his mortal wife and wanted her to feel that she had experienced them with him.

The August full moon always held meaning for Ethan. As the nights grew longer, the romance and warmth of the summer night, and the illumination from the bright moon, lured lovers of all ages into the streets. Once they were in full view of the Mazarin, the entrance of the hospital, Ethan pointed out places of interest to Brit. The hospital was once a place where gunpowder was made, Brit. It has also been used as a prison and a place to put people that irritated society.”

Like vampires?” Brit asked.

Ethan grinned as he whispered, “Only if they could be caught.” Pulling her close, he chuckled, “At one time, it was also noted for its very large population of city rats. Over 7000 people were housed within so the rats had an abundance of trash to consume.”

Wrinkling her nose, she peered back to the building. Ethan watched and remembered the small blue box in his pocket: a blue camera he had purchased after being asked to take a picture of a young couple several nights prior. He was mesmerized by the digital screen and seemed childlike with his new toy. Positioning Brit where he could take a picture, he fumbled with the camera to ensure the picture would turn out perfectly. Brit did not hear his mumbles about how much easier this was than securing an artist back in the day.

After snapping a picture of the sidewalk, he got the camera centered on his wife. Brit was looking over her shoulder at the building. By the time Ethan snapped the picture, she had turned to watch something he did not see. Brit walked into the hospital compound, past the admissions and seemed to follow a path that only she knew. Tilting his head, Ethan followed her cautiously. “Baby? Where are we going?” She did not answer and he quickened his pace as she walked past a nurse’s station filled with late-evening nurses who were busy with their work.

Smells of antiseptic and medication assaulted his nostrils. Brit continued on her path. Up a stairwell, she emerged on a floor. There were few rooms. Soft beeping sounds of monitoring machines broke the silence of the area. Nursing staff were shuffling about as they silently worked. Each room was larger than normal hospital rooms. Each room contained one patient. Brit walked into one of the rooms.

Standing at the foot of the bed, Brit blinked slowly as she focused on an elderly woman who looked tiny in the bed. Monitors covered her. Brit looked to him with huge eyes and back to the woman. Seeing into her thoughts, he realized that his wife had linked into the woman’s thoughts. The woman felt pain and sadness. She was bewildered and frightened. The scent of the room told him that she was dying and would not likely last to see sunlight again.

Ethan blinked as he saw Brit enter the woman’s thoughts just as he had done with Brit the evening when he first touched Brit’s lips. She walked along and opened doors of better memories. Sunlight afternoons with her new husband were glimpsed along with the laughter of a small child. “Emilie,” whispered Brit.

“Oui! Emilie.” rasped the strained voice as the woman reached out a hand.

“Emilie,” repeated Brit who took the hand and held it. The woman in the bed smiled as she clasped Brit’s hand. Ethan glanced to the door nervously. Brit covered the woman’s hand with her own warm one. The flesh was papery-thin, and the hand shook from palsy. The woman repeated the name smiling as she closed her eyes gripping Brit’s hand tighter.

Brit simply stood rubbing the woman’s hand. In her mind, the woman could see Brit. Brit walked with her to watch her as she sat playing with Emilie, a baby with cornflower eyes and pouting lips that blew bubbles as she gurgled. A nurse came in looking startled. Ethan turned to her as his eyes flashed briefly. A silent exchange had the nurse leaving the room. If anyone asked, the nurse would have told them that the lady’s niece Emilie had visited.

Ethan struggled to get past the smell of death in the room. He could sense the woman’s bodily systems shutting down. His wife touching the hand that stubbornly housed a thread heartbeat caused him some irritation. Death was not far from her, he rationalized. Ethan went back to watching Brit, baffled that she had entered the woman’s mind. He could see Brit intended to stay with her during the final night, and he shifted uncomfortably at the thought of the night passing. Surely his wife would not stay after dawn. Brit turned to look to him and his eyes widened. Surely he read her wrong in that she had thought that the woman needed them to help her calmly pass to the next life! Shaking his head, he continued to watch Brit and grew to feel that he had misread the thought.

Brit’s visit with the woman lasted through the night. Ethan mused that the woman had held no more than a blink of life compared to him but, within the thoughts shared by Brit with the woman, it was apparent that she had enjoyed much in those years. About an hour before dawn, the woman sat Emilie down and motioned for Brit to follow her along the path. Brit followed as she watched Emilie grow, marry, and have her own child. The path came to a house and the woman turned to Brit. She kissed Brit’s cheek and went inside.

The beeping machine sounded a single monotone sound. Nurses ran to the room and a doctor followed. Brit and Ethan were directed outside. When the nurse came to find Emilie, they could find no sign of the couple to tell them that Emilie’s aunt had passed.

Outside, Ethan held Brit as they returned to their resting place. He expected tears and sadness. He was amazed that Brit could enter the woman’s mind as she had. Brit turned to him before the sun came up and lisped, “Emilie made her happy, Ethan. I wonder why she was not there. No one should perish alone.” Brit snuggled against him and slept feeling melancholy missing her new friend.


~ Ethan ~ said...

*pulls the heavy curtains back slightly to properly inspect this year's august full moon and takes his time reflecting upon the changes that Brit has been going through these past years and especially since she started sharing vitae. One could not be quite certain if it was his usual smirk or a soft smile, that formed on his face before the curtains fell back into place.*

Tyranus said...

She came to an recumbent quiet under the sounds seeping away from her, away with the room. Her waking world was at an end where her senses sought no more. A mere blanket sheet of nirvana. Nothing at all all over her senses, and a sense of...then a sense of.....white...bright light washing over all she had to say and do...all was left but to lie down and be at peace. It didn't matter. How could it possibly matter, being so vulgar, and material, and...then a whisper...

"Times I see someone silhouetted where there's windows..." right in one of her ear...what was it ears were, she wondered, and then there was more there "Where the eyes go..." His voice said "I don't know..."

It was a hiss. It was a rumble that began before she felt the cold and wet push on the soles of her bare feet, splaying out of between her toes. She worried about the blankets and sheets until she simply did not remember where she had been moments ago at all.

She lay in wet, growing use to the cold coming up behind, and the cold breeze caught up in time to see the water retreat. It made her feel as though it were her moving, eyes closed against the light.

So much to say. She still had so much to say, she did not remember. Her faith moved. A comma there, and emphasis stained--would her faith move her. Would it have the words she hoped she might have said--the words she hoped she might say?

"I still don't know...I...I don't.." It is not sure she can be said to have said it at all. Here was a half an hour of words, but what was mostly no words at all. Silence she spoke. Silence and a few syllables here and there within the wiggling of her jaw, and her lips. They moved. They moved within these aforementioned syllables of her diminishing lisps.

"You are not alone" she felt His arms around her ribs the where she always use to love feeling them. No pain of joint. No priceless reunion yet either. There was dreamstate, and there was sensation, distinct, debatable..."We have much for you to learn" He said. "There is no rush...there is all the time in the world..." and then she felt a kiss. It was planted upon her cheek bone, just in front of her ear, not far, and there lips lingered long enough to suggest they did not want to leave.

"You've been such..." How was it He could make such simple words as such wait, and charge, and feel like words of good mixed up into regular sentences...? "...a good girl..." Only a pause, and a small emphasis.

"don't" she managed. She did not manage to make it sound sincere, she did not think. "don't" she said it again, somewhat similar, in fact entirely similar. "What do you want?"

Tyranus said...

If she can have whipped her hands and nails at the air before her face she might have. Her body felt so heavy though. Her hands crushing into the sand. She felt something upon each arm just bellow the wrist, one hand lifted like something light and lain upon her chest. The other lain atop, and something cool touched each eyelid, making the bright white dim.

"Promise is as promise does, popette." He talked like they were alone, although the feel of sheet and blanket lifting up over her face, fading soon after she felt it, was not by His hand, she knew. "The road was long and winding, with pain and joy, now here's the end, and the toll to pay..."

He gave a short quiet groan of the kind a grown man might when Her fingertips felt almost like they were open the way they had pruned.

"Your sister had not suffered before you asked she be revived." Images crossed her mind of the lifeless girl in the sand. She was so pale, and lips of blue. "Well...frightening for a little sister, but drowning itself is otherwise among the less unpleasant ways to die."

She felt so cold now. She felt remorse she had not in decades, coiling up irretrievably tight round her heart, and choking her from inside her throat. She could not sob. The sensation simply hung there, on a verge that only lingered--a fall where the ground did not come and did not come.

"Emilie..." wetted cheek, then two, felt warmer, and then the breeze made them cold. "A bright star in your discerning eye" He continued her thought outloud "even now tasting the richness you chose to share of your fortunes. Nothing of you in her but fond memory, and lessons learned."

Her eyes snapped open. The sky was overcast, and there He was standing over her, hand held out, a dim shape against the dimming sky. All was blue and darkening.

"Times I see someone silhouetted where there's windows." She blinked at His skin, paler than her sister's had been.

"Where the eyes go...I don't know..." She blinked at where His eyes should be, nothing there but blackness.

Accepting His hand, He hoisted her to her feet, and turned her towards the way down the beach. They both began to walk "My garden awaits you. You will adore it there, of this I can be certain..."

The beach was growing darker and colder as they walked. "Words in the day." She continued not quite under her breath. The scent on the wind threatened rain. "Whispers in the night..."

Feeling no frailty in her bones, or weakness in her body any more, she looked down to see her bosom pert within the one piece swimming suit she wore that day He had approached her sobbing over her sister. Stomach flat with her late teenage metabolism, legs and arms interesting of texture with the swimmer's build she once maintained for years at a time. The pride she had had... "Words in the day..." Even now the sobs would not come... "Breathing in the dark..."

"Tell Me about..." His pause seemed pregnant, as though He were making a show of finding the words, or as though He might say never mind instead of whatever it was He wished to inquire after "...your visit with Brit..."