14. Three-days-dead

The phone was ringing and ringing and the apartment looked like a typhoon had blown through it. The intern delivered me to my father’s residence while insisting that I should actually have stayed at St. Luke’s Hospital.

“You’ve been through a major physical trauma,” he insisted. “You have not recovered completely.” He was already quite upset long before we got to the door.

“It’s not our fault. The hospital caters to a population of seven million. The wards are all full. Patients sometimes get lost in the shuffle.” He paused. “Still, it’s very strange that they released you. I lobbied to keep you there, but to no avail. Someone—I don’t know who— must have wanted you out. I really don’t understand it.”

We’d come up in the elevator. I did not know where I was, but it felt familiar. I went immediately to the door and waited, mouth open, panting, like a stray that has found its way home. From behind the door emanated a most unpleasant smell. The young physician appeared not to have noticed. He thrust his large hand into the small mouth of a beaded handbag and pulled out a key ring with one key on it, which he shoved toward me. I backed away, so he took it upon himself to open the door. What did he think when the smell hit him full in the face? He didn’t even flinch. It’s strange how people manage to shut that sense down.

The apartment must have been beautiful once, but it was in ruins. In the huge living room, sunlight tumbled through two huge picture windows. Fancy furniture was upended, silk upholstery slashed, the whole mess feathered in down. Bright and fluffy and warm it was, but in massive and stinking disarray. I remember feeling an odd little thrill at the sight of all of that destruction.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 14/Three-days-dead