In the Doorway

He just stood there. At the doorway. Just stood. It might be a bit complex to explain why him standing at a doorway was odd to his behavior. But, it was. He was hesitating. He never hesitated before.

I wanted him to speak. From where I sat, I smiled up at him. I waited for him to speak. His face cast in shadow, I could not see whether he smiled or not. But, if he did… if he did smile… I would not have known.

His shoulders slumped atop his tall stature. His necktie and suit coat sagged, tired of the stiffener that was put into them this morning. His hair, although he had just taken his cap off, was messy. For such short hair as his, it must have been hard to mess it up.

Whatever was on his mind, whatever thought made him hesitate, there in the doorway, made his hair look messy, even though his cap had just been taken off.

I fidgeted under the blankets. The warm blankets that the nice ladies kept in warmers to make us more comfortable. Subconsciously, I reached for my arm, and rubbed the area in which the IV stuck into. It itched. I hated that itching feeling. That feeling was something was just under the skin, and just out of reach.

So close, but never obtainable.

That was how I felt when he stood in the doorway. No, hesitated in the doorway. So close, but never obtainable.

“Dr. Lemu?” I asked. My voice quivered. I was worried. So, I tried a joke. Jokes always broke the awkward silent. I forced a laugh first. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost. Maybe you should get some fresh air.” That was not even a joke. “And call the ghost busters.” I added. I was never good at jokes.

His head shook, at least I thought he did. It was hard to tell when he stood in the shadows, so far away.

Out of sight and out of arms reach.

“Come on, quit scaring me, Doc.” I laughed again. Hopefully this one did not seem so forced as the last.

He lifted his head and looked at me. I had not even noticed that his head was down. With no light near his features, it was hard to tell.

“I’m sorry.” He hesitated again, like he never did. “It’s terminal.”

“There’s a pill for that…”

“So, I’m going to kill my neighbor,” I spoke up, after staring at the peanut butter jar for twenty seconds.

“Mhm.”

Said peanut butter jar was lifted, a large spoonful of peanut butter was scooped out, then it was set back down.

“I mean it.  If she throws her garbage in my trashcan one more time, I am going to kill her.” Pass the peanut butter jar, a blurred-out slice of white bread rested on the counter.

“Mhm.”

Said bread was lifted, a corner crust crumb falling back on the counter, as the spoonful of peanut butter was smeared over the store bought baked product.

“I know it’s her, too. She’s the only one who uses lavender scented trash bags.”

“Of course.”

Sweeping the fallen crumb into my hand, I walked over to garbage can to discover that it was full. With a groaned, I brushed the crumb off my palm and watched it land on top of the trash, then bounce back onto the floor again. “I swear she waits until the middle of the night to throw her garbage out, too. I can spend all evening staring out that window, waiting for her to show up, until I fall asleep. But, it’s always there the next morning.” With a huff, I pulled the bag out of the trash can, and a wave of light flowers filled the kitchen.

“Mhm.” I listened to Connor crunch down on his toast and chew the pieces loudly. Tying the ends together roughly, I struggled to shift the trash down to the bottom so it was easier to carry.

“I mean, what kind of person puts their trash in someone else’s trash can, anyway?” I went over to the sink and searched underneath for the box with the light purple flowers on it.

“Mm?”

“The worst kind, I tell you.” Finding the box, I pulled a fresh bag from it as the kitchen filled with more lightly scented flowers, and shook it open to put in the trashcan.

“Mhm.”

“You know, you could at least try to think of something to say besides, ‘Mhm’.” Slamming the lid back down, I picked up the full trash bag and carried it outside.

While I was gone, Connor simply lifted the empty bottle of generic Donepezil with my name on it, shook the bottle once, then set it back down with a slight smile.

The door opened and slammed as I came inside, exasperated. “That’s it, where’s the shotgun. She’s at it again.”

With another crunch of his toast, my roommate pointed to the empty bottle and spoke with his mouth full, “You missed one.”

“Gee, thanks,” I took a deep breath, then threw my hands up in frustrated. “God, now the whole house smells like freakin’ lavender! I hate lavender!”