The canteen

Hospital food is so cheap. Well, it seems it to me. I suppose it has to be when it’s cheaper to park on Mars than within a mile of the A&E. The food tastes good too. Great, even. Tastes like it could soften the pain. Or at least take your mind off of it for a while. 

A ginger sponge pudding with custard. Yum. I never usually like ginger, but on this occassion, this very minute, it tastes like the best thing I’ve had in a long time. Such a long time. I don’t even mind that no-one will sit across from me to hear me complimenting the menu. They have their own things to worry about. Like me.

The vegetable chilli is nice too. Very nice indeed. I’m not a vegetarian, but I thought I’d try something different. Something healthy. I suppose I have to start at some point. People keep telling me I need to change, that it will benefit me in the long run, it will help lift my mood and enable me to live longer. And I’m told that this is important. A healthy life. A long life.

The lady comes around and picks up the trays. She asks to take mine. I decline. I’m finished but I’d rather put it away myself. I like doing things for myself. It helps me feel in control. It’s all you have really – control over your actions. Nothing else.

My appointment finished 5 hours ago, yet I can’t bring myself to leave. I’m trying to work out why. But it’s difficult. Maybe it’s the delious food, which is affordable too – such a delight. Maybe I don’t want to bring the news home. Maybe, whilst they don’t know, my family will assume that all is well.

The salt sachets never really hold enough salt. Well, that’s just my opinion, I’m sure I just eat more salt than others so I suppose it might be enough for the average person. I used to add salt to my vegetables because my mother had a talent for boiling the taste out of them. She did her best though. A better cook than me. Definitely. I would start cooking more if I had more time. But life is busy. Life is complicated now. So, no new hobbies for me. Yes.

I get up and walk to the exit of the canteen and, just as I’m about to leave, I realise I still have today’s newspaper in my bag. What a lovely surprise. Unread too. I return to my seat, open it up and dig into the articles. Cuts, cuts, cuts. And they wonder why we’re all dying in the waiting rooms? The cap doesn’t help either; it’s just pushing the poverty line higher. Too high. Kids are going hungry because the money’s gone after the rent is paid. So mummies and daddies everywhere are  now being accused of neglect. That ain’t right. Neglect doesn’t means poverty. I guess they’ll have to hire more social workers to blame. It’s all broken. Like being shit on from a great height. You can’t see who did it, but you know it was by someone with the power to decide not to fuck up your day. Shame on them all. Such a shame.

The news makes me angry. It makes me sad. But I can’t stop reading. It’s killing me. With each word I feel this itch within me become more numb. It feels like it is sinking. Being buried. Dead. Every word. My brain loves it: reading. Learning about things that are separate from this day. This day in this hospital. This day that is the end of everything. Where I can’t stop reading. Burying that itch. The news is very interesting today. I better call the family and let them know this could take all night.

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