By Lia Woodall
“Operator, I’ll accept the charges.”
• • •
The emergency room at the hospital is sterile and sleepy in the afternoon light of Saturday, January 29, 2005 in Las Vegas. That morning I saw the sun rise in Denver.
I spot the nurses station and hurry toward it. Calibrate my tone to polite, try for appreciative.
“I’m here for my sister.”
“Room F.” The nurse points to a dimly lit hallway. “First left.”
I find my sister around the corner in a crowded corridor, groggy on a gurney, its long side saddled up to the wall. Tacked to the plaster above her torso is a yellow sticky—“Room F.”
F for fucked.
Her brown hair is buzzed close at her temples; the longer section at her crown is flat and matted against a collapsed pillow. Her face has gone slack; her mouth a dry well of side effects from some unnamed drug. Shallow breaths pass over cracked lips.
About the Author
Lia Woodall’s award-winning essays have been published in Literal Latté, Sonora Review, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine and South Loop Review. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and recognized as a Best American Essay Notable 2014. She is currently at work on a book, Leaving Twinbrook: A Memoir of Duality, about the loss of her twin brother to suicide. She lives in Houston with her husband and two cats, and is newly a Grammy
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