From the author: Published online but I don't have a note as to where. Yep, it's a pretty literal 'story' about our time in the hospital room.
Jim would call it art.
The painting has the only color in the room, an odd choice of white and color-saturated streaks making maybe a flower. Maybe an explosion.
Explosion. That’s what happened to Jim. Not dynamite or fireworks or auto-collision-gas-tank whump. The veins in his brain gave out. Quiet. Quick. Delivered him into the rivers of Lethe. As Poe might say. The nurses say coma.
I shift in the plastic guest chair. There is no comfortable position. At least the arms aren’t sticky, like the ones in the lobby. The lobby is distractingly cheerful. This room is focused, all-business, all neutral. Shades of dusty sand. Three distinct hues of beige. Even the heart-rate monitor is phosphor white on black. A bleached sheet discreetly covers his urine bag. I want to reach up, flip the sheet, expose the bag, force the room to admit to strong yellow.
That action would be better than looking at his gray face, half obscured by the white tube forcing air into his lungs. His turquoise eyes are shuttered. His vital chestnut hair is sheared away. A white bandage tops him like snow on an improbable mountain. Halfway to the peak is the only other color in this room: red. A badge of red. Jim’s bloodshot off-center third eye.
The abstract painting pulls my attention, captures me with its strong cool spears of color.
Jim would call it art, if only he could open his eyes.