256 Words

The Anesthesia Would Wear Off

M. Stanley Bubien

"Baby killer!"

They warned me I might hear something like that. "Don't believe it," they'd said, "it's a lie."

I laid in my bed, staring at the ceiling. Today, in the speckles, I made out a man's face. His mouth was open wide, crying out. Yesterday, I saw an airplane with wings that looked too short. Day before that, a unicycle on a bent tire.

"Baby killer!"

Sometimes I see the same things. The crying face, that's new. But I've found that airplane a bunch of times. I liked the idea of flying, I think, even if its wings never got any longer.

"Baby killer!" she had screamed, sitting in the silent crowd as the nurses escorted me from the clinic. I had chosen general anesthetic---I hate pain, you know---so I was pretty wobbly. And all those people in the way, they made it a lot harder to get to my mom's car.

"Baby killer!" that woman screamed---just once, because three protesters jumped up and pushed her away fast.

Four weeks, I think, maybe five. My dad told me every day. Even when he came just to check on me. Or when he begged me to get up. Or reasoned with me. Or cried.

Maybe that was his face in the ceiling! No. I liked my daddy's face better. I tried to turn the ceiling one into his, so it'd be something nice to look at.

But I really wished that woman would stop screaming. And I wished the anesthesia would wear off.

Copyright ©1999 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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August, 1999
Issue #40

256 Words