This Time With Feeling
A rhythmic “splish-thud”
rose from the sidewalk
and quickly dispersed into the windy
coolness of the
night. He walked as quickly
as he could and focused
on nothing other than the wet sidewalk
in front of
him. The bar wasn’t too
far away. What did Wilson
The day had been a relatively easy
had teamed up with Foreman to supplement
neurological studies, Wilson had
called in sick, and
Chase had spent most of the day filling
out charts and
following up on labs. Cuddy was away
on business so
he’d had taken her absence
as a providential mandate
to share his wealth of responsibility
with some lucky
colleague. He’d approached
a new resident at the
nurse’s station and smoothly
passed along his clinical
charts to her, smiling broadly as
if he were handing
her an early birthday gift.
“Here you go. Enjoy,”
he’d said with a magisterial
nod of his head. Once
the resident realized what had just
politely declined and then more strongly
she saw he wasn’t planning
on taking them back. His
only response to her protestations
had been a too
sweet, “No, I insist. Really.”
As he retreated down
the hallway he thought he heard her
say something that
sounded an awful lot like “sucking
mouse,” but he
couldn’t be sure.
Wilson had called just as he’d
arrived home from
the hospital and asked if he’d
meet him as soon as
possible at a bar, any bar –
there was something he
needed to talk to him about.
House vaguely wondered
if perhaps the reason behind Wilson’s
morning call in
to the hospital had something to
do with the reason
behind him wanting to meet now. House
picked up the TV
remote and pressed Power. “Can’t,”
he said, “It’s
Tango night at the dance studio and
it’s my turn to
teach.” Wilson ignored the
remark; House’s sarcasm was
just so much static to him now.
Wilson’s tone became
more insistent, “When and where,
Greg?” House knew he
wouldn’t take no for an answer.
He couldn’t remember
the last time he heard James so,
so…fearful? Was that
what he sensed in Wilson’s
voice? He flicked the TV
off and agreed to meet. He
suggested a nearby bar and
Wilson responded, “I’m
already there.” “What, you
mean you’re there now?”
House asked. “Yes,” Wilson
replied and hung up the phone.
his pocket. The bottle of Vicodin
against his hand.
He decided to walk hoping the exercise
would help relax his lower back and
loosen the muscles
that had tightened up considerably
after his day of
inactivity. A bus pulled
up at the stop outside his
house and for a split second he considered
bus to the bar. Bus: The great
unwashed. People who
might try to talk to him. Plenty
of them to deal with
at work; he didn’t need to
placate their fears nor
entertain their fantasies on his
off hours now, did
he? And what was a bus anyway
but a mobile clinic?
He walked on.
It had rained earlier in the day
and the trees
he passed under were slowly distributing
they’d caught on their branches.
He turned up his
collar to stay the drops from dribbling
down his neck
and ducked his head intent on his
mission. The cool
thick night air clung to his skin.
It hung heavy upon
him and seeped through his clothing
crackling throbbing pain in his thigh.
why outdoor pain was different than
indoor pain, and
why Saturday pain was different from
Tuesday pain. Why
couldn’t pain just be pain?
It’d be so much easier to
deal with if the face of your foe
didn’t change so
often. But this foe never looked
the same - one day
it was a small-time hood; another
day an executioner.
He realized that until that point
felt much pain all day. The
Vicodin had seen to that.
Mother of Vicodin. How sweet you are.
He quickened his pace to try to re-configure
pain into a minor entity, but the
insistently as if demanding recognition.
It made his
leg feel heavier and colder than
any other part of his
body. He jabbed the cane into the
the intense throbbing with exclamation
frustration. The bar wasn’t
too far away now.
He’d taken three Vicodin before
hospital but the walk and the coldness
of the night
had conspired to dull the effects
of the drug. The
sweat that always accompanied his
severest bouts of
pain began to form on his forehead,
in his armpits,
and on his chest and waist.
Quickly cooled by the
evening air the sweat shot a lightning
his body that terminated, as usual,
in his thigh. His
thigh was the terminus for all events,
all moods, good
or bad; they somehow all found their
learned that it was better to try
to have no mood than to entertain
any mood at all.
Pleasure or Sadness, Anger or Bliss
- it all meant
pain Happiness? Sometimes
really bad pain. Lust?
Well that actually didn’t
feel too bad but since it meant getting
someone – and their pain -
he knew it would ultimately
lead to more pain. Come to
think of it, Seething
Anger wasn’t so bad, but it
just took so much blasted
energy to maintain. Hope?
He didn’t remember what it
felt like, so it wasn’t an
option anyway, but somehow
it seemed the most painful of all.
He did his best
to live his life in the in-between:
feeling, in-between pain.
The sound of a siren etched itself
mind and he half-wondered if his
pain had suddenly
found vocal expression. He
paused, put his hand to
his forehead, and listened.
The siren rose again into
the air, but this time it was closer,
louder. It was
coming from behind him and he turned
his head to see
where it was. He covered his
ears as the ambulance
passed him - his senses could only
handle so much
overload at one time.
He closed his eyes and willed
the pain to stay in his leg and not
travel up to his
head. The siren stopped.
He quickly opened his eyes
and saw that the ambulance had pulled
into a parking
lot up ahead. Wasn’t
that the parking lot to the bar?
He quickened his pace and pulled
his jacket tighter. The night seemed colder
to him now.