4.01.2015

FEELING A LITTLE BETTER


first published in






            York Avenue below 72nd Street is crisis-oriented, running southward down the food chain of really bad days from oncology to general medicine to plastic surgery, taking a brief hiatus for a medical college and a pre-school, then ramping the anguish levels back up with a boxy, mid-century veterinary clinic. I was walking back from my Tuesday swim. Gentle snowflakes were popping like distant flashbulbs against the darkening skyThe night suddenly turned thick, gray, and loud. I took cover from the storm in the vestibule of the nearest hospital, but it was no defense against the tiny secret chills in my ears, so I pushed against the vacuum-stuck doors and entered. The snow melting in my hair reactivated the scent of chlorine. I hate showering right after the pool. I like to leave while the empty stretch of ache is still in my limbs.
My random shelter was Memorial Sloan Kettering. It is an intriguing sort of name, but I was more immediately drawn to the lobby’s little café. It wasn’t any great shakes—just a corner with a lazy parabola of tables delineating its outer bound. A few unsorted sandwiches were scattered among apples individually muted by plastic wrap. There were faint indications that there had once been soup. I was hungry. I always follow myTuesday swim with a delivery order of grilled salmon from the French restaurant down the street. They know how I like it: nearly blackened, no sauce, the latest spinach variant steamed in a separate container. I’d only ever go in if a friend came to town or a date sparked up; the waiter would laugh and not bother handing me a menu.

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