Thursday, 4 April 2013

YGMM: The Baby Elephant

Warning: This has a lot of description.

JournalWord: Bubble-wrapping desks.


It’s another dreadful, winter afternoon at the downtown hospital. Flurries beat down over the cabin-fevered building, snuffing out light from windows in the mission to bury the hospital in white. The walk ways and paths winding around the hospital grounds, freshly scooped earlier in the day, are piling up again, disguising the stamped footprints and packed snow banks. Bare trees, hidden for months by hanging glass icicles, pack cold powder between frozen branches; puffing up the trees in a strange winter orchard. 

Clumps of snow fall from over the front entrance, landing and becoming welcoming mats to the concerned emergency medical technicians. The ice under the layers of snow crystals shine through the powder, winking danger at every passing victim to slip. Daggered icicles overhead wait for a strong gust of wind to knock them off the ceiling of the entrance, shaking in their patience. The automatic sliding doors are freezing together, sticking and hesitating an extra minute before opening to break the forming ice. 
The lobby of the hospital buzzes like a trapped hive; the air crackling in claustrophobia and fevered escape. The smell of disinfectant and bleach mix into a crude scent with the dank wetness of drenched fabric. Two secretaries slouch over keyboards and files, hiding behind their curved desk like a shield. They shiver and clutch at their layers of jackets and sweaters every time the entrance doors squeak open. A layer of snow that has managed to infiltrate the building, melts on the green mat, vaporizing in the blast of the heating system.

White capped nurses usher hunching, canned seniors away from frosting windows, and back into individual rooms. They muttering inconveniences as they stretch exhausted smiles over painted, chapped lips, attempting to soothe cabin fever with sweet words between grinding teeth. Their fleeting feet track into puddles of sleet, trailing rivers across the lobby’s dull white floor. Tuts and irritated sucking noises peal from their lips whenever they glance at the groups of shifting visitors trapped in by the blizzard.

The visitors cluster together in front of the expanse of the windows. They watch dejectedly as the cold glass is slowly swallowed by the blizzard, stamping their slush saturated boots. They flip their cell phones open and close in frantic clacks; all that is keeping them at bay from running out into the snowstorm. Their gloved hands grasp their coat’s collars, pulling them up to protect their curled mouths from incessant coughs and uncontrollable sneezes for fear of catching a doctor’s attention.

Down a series of corridors, past rooms and floors of various hacking and groans, Dr. Cahill’s office remains shut and ignorant of the gloom surrounding the rest of the medical building. A light shines though the opaque glass slit placed in the wood door, admitting a person inside by a shifting shadow, although the doctor is away, tending to a patient downstairs in the hustle of emergency surgeries. However, despite her absence, the trace sound of shuffling plastic can be heard underneath the howls of pounding wind and sighs of bored patients. 
In the centre of the square room, a slouched figure in dark jeans and a yellow sweater lightly kicks a black office chair out of his way. The expelled oversized, rounded chair slides from its place behind a cedar desk and careens over the floor. The expensive leather chair wobbles and rolls, top-heavy, across the expanse of the hardwood. An armrest collides softly into one of the ceiling-high bookshelves that covers three of the four surrounding walls. 

A thick medical textbook, one of the many hundreds of the like that fill the bronze wood shelves, knocks loose from its categorized fit. The blue hard covers flap open to swallow air into its pages before collapsing flat on pages six-hundred fifty-two and fifty-three. A cloud of aged paper emphasizes the fall and clatter. The books that depended on the toppled volume, tip into each other to sate the empty space. The crash of the fallen echoes like a booing crowd, the sound bouncing a path to the blonde head, snapped to attention.  

The tightness in Tristan’s face relaxes from a clenched frown to a mischievous smirk when he discovers the whereabouts of the sound. He glances at the door, and satisfied by the undisturbed lock on the doorknob, drops his gaze to the desk in front of him. His bottle green eyes frolic at the sight pf his doings, brightening his winter-paled complexion and distributing golden highlights to his already tousled, fair hair. He doesn’t flinch at the howls and scratching of the wind against the walls and windows, instead, masking the sound with a quiet hum of his own. 

The shriek of duct tape ripping off its roll is instantly muffled by the light pats of a hand smoothing the shiny, silver adhesive flat. Tristan’s warm hand skims the ridged tape, exerting just enough pressure to stick the adhesive to the bubbled surface covering the oak desk. Fingers stretch and reach for another roll of duct tape while the dominant left hand holds down another section of curling bubble wrap.

He elongates his lithe body over the length of the large cedar desk, straining for the extra roll tucked behind a tipped, framed photo. The concentration he applies is disguised by his tongue, peeking pink from between his lips, and a flop of wild, static-infused lock suspended inches from his narrowed eyes, His fingers poke the overturned roll, forcing it to flip, however, accidentally setting it on a course over the edge of the desk. 

The silver roll bounces and hops a couple metres before halting in the cushion of stacked bubble wrap sheets waiting in front of the door. A whoosh is exhaled by the stack as the top layer floats off the tower and skids to the door. The bubbled edge of the sheet jam themselves into the crack under the door in a fluid swoop. Tristan lifts his hand off the section of bubble wrap on the desk corner, allowing it to curl into a tube. He straightens to retrieve the roll and finish the job he has started. 

His well worn, tan jacket folds back into familiar creases when he readjusts his posture. He rolls his shoulders at the setting soreness of being slouched for so long, his suede jacket skimming over his torso with a liquid drift as he walks to the door. He bends over to gather the runaway roll, the obsidian buttons on his jacket winking and blinking in the light. They laugh, whether from the glow of the florescent lights overhead or from the radiation casting off Tristan’s quirked grin.

He resumes his position at the desk, smoothing down the curling flap of bubble wrap before taping it down with a swatch of tape. Despite the ear splitting screams and thunderous pounds of pulsing snow, Tristan keeps on humming. The ripping of duct tape unravelling contrasts with the visage of the cloudlike, bubbled desk. The translucent bubbles lining each sheet shine glossy reflections on their rounded shells. A corner of the desk remains unsheathed in safety plastic, but the exception is swiftly dealt with one last tear of tape, smoothed to perfection with the excess carefully tucked under the ledge.

The job is finished with a quick shuffle of desk trinkets, file folders, and framed pictures, all covered in matching bubbly sleeves and placed in their original places. He steps back to admire his work, a whistle of satisfaction and a smile adorning his pink lips. The duct tape roll twirls around is left index finger in admiration. He tilts his head down to check the time on his watch, only to fumble the roll between his hands when he notices the time. He jams the roll into his pocket and gathers and collects the leftover sheets of bubble wrap into his arms. He sprints to the door, hastily turning the doorknob before shutting it closed behind him as he rushes out to the elevators.

The young man smiles to himself in the crowd of frowns and scowls in the lobby. His eyes glitter and dance as he waits for the unrelenting storm to exhaust itself. He waits like everyone else in the lobby for the sun to peek out from behind the angry clouds. However, unlike everyone else, he holds a warmth of adding a smile and shaking head to someone, despite the dreadful afternoon. To him, it’s an otherwise sunny afternoon at the downtown hospital.


I've been busy lately, wrapping up on my classes (just a week left!) and worrying about finals. 
My emotions are on a sloppy run right now, zig-zagging dramatically, and I've been super tired lately. (Maybe from my anxiety peaking again?) Let's just hope I can pull myself together in the next week. 
And maybe crank out some more ideas! Or spend some time working on the ones I've already laid out... :P

Keep bubbly!


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