Seeing the Light

Medical Center

“There was this liii-yit,” she says, with her Southern accent lingering on the “iii” as if a boomerang going round and round, away and back again, trying to find its way home.  “I mean I think it was a liii-yit.”  Her eyes searching the sky overhead, stare straight into the sun without blinking.

 “Then, my chickens,” she continues without pausing for breath, “literally flew the coop.  They jus’ picked up and left as if a caa-yote had broken through the hen house, but no four-legged creatures were arooound.  I mean I could seeee eeevereeethin’ because of the liii-yit, ya know.”

I nod and keep my pen dutifully to pad.

“I called to Hank. Ya’ know my husband Hank?  He was out bowlin’ all night and came back late.  Went straight to bed so was sound asleep, not even the roosters’ crow would a woken him, ‘cept this one.  This one did.  He was by my side, shotgun in hand, before my second holler for ‘Hank’ came out my mouth.” 

Her voice hushes while her green eyes squint as if searching for a coon up a tree at dusk. 

“He seen it too, then, this liii-yit.  He din’t even care ‘bout the chickens gone mad.  He just hunkered right up next to me, both in our bedclothes, his slippers, we seen later, on the wrong feet, covered in dung that he’d raced through on his way to the pen.”

“See the pigs, they also went strange.  They weren’t nawin’ or rollin’ in muck or nothin’.  But they wasn’t sleepin’ neither.  They were all lined up, one snout to piggy tail, as if waitin’ in line at the five and dime for their pay.  And Hank, he said he nearly fell over when he seen what lay at the first pigs feet.  A full cob a corn!  Not a nibble.  Not a kernel gone eaten.  Now what pig, let alone a pen a pigs would let a perfectly good cob a corn just lie in the sty waitin’?  I tell you it had to be because a the liii-yit!”

“So,” I ask after watching her scratch her chin and shake her head, muttering “craaazy” and “pig” in between stomps of her feet as if swatting flies tickling her ankles, “what happened?”

She raises the heel of her foot to scratch her opposite shin and I see a large bruise on her knee.  “What’s that on your leg?”  I ask bending down level with her hemline.

“Wha?”  And as I reach out to touch her leg, she shutters, eyes roll back as her arms start to flap and legs twitch.  Foam ebbs from the corner of her mouth.  Then, like an old door being thrown off the roof of a falling down barn she tips backwards and crashes onto the floor straight as a board before I can reach to break her fall.

 A week later all shiny and clean in the glow of hospital-white bed sheets, her emerald eyes still radiate the story of the light. 

 Her CAT scan, on the other hand…reads the light differently.