Mrs. St. Paul

The waiting room woman knelt down beside the hospital bed, clutching the frail mother’s hand in hers.

“Mom,” she sobbed. “I don’t want you to…to—”

The patient simply shook her head and gave a weak smile, waving her almost nonexistent hair against the pillow.

The daughter only buried her head in the sheets, bawling.

The mother seemed to muster up her vocal cords and rasped, “It’s all right, Vicky.” She then broke into a violent attack of wheezing and coughing. This didn’t help reassure Vicky.

A nurse ran in. “Mrs. St. Paul!” she cried, hurrying towards the weary woman in the bed. “Sorry, Vicky, you’re going to have to leave for now.”

Vicky bit her lip and took a last, tearful glance at her mother before shuffling out the door. “Mom,” she whispered to herself.

The door to room 121 swung shut behind her as she put her back against the wall. She could even feel her mom’s racking coughs through the white drywall.

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