In the hospital room there was a man in the next bed who had tried to kill himself with an industrial stapler to his head.

Failing, he had only succeeded in causing brain damage.

His shaved head, and hollow features reminiscent of a Holocaust victim, tortured and starving.

He looked at me, eyes very wide as his mouth slid sideways,

and a crooked smile emerged.

His mouth was moving constantly, but nothing was spoken.

I could not look away.

What was behind those dark wide eyes,

and did he know what he had done and where he was?

I saw pictures of his child on the wall next to him, and photos of him from the past.

Maybe even then he was planning an end, sorting the details of how it would go down, and what his loved ones would say after he was gone; If they’d be sorry or glad. Now they would visit him

in this place that smelled of antiseptic and was filled with moaning

and uncontrollable outbursts from other rooms.

A nurse came in to check on things.

She asked if everything was ok. There was no answer.

I asked her if she liked working at the hospital.

“How do I answer that? It’s not what you like…”