The Best in the World

The Best in the World


I never saw Julie run. As the door locked behind me and I approached the sign-in book, I sensed tonight would be different from other visits. Opening the bag of frozen yogurt for the nurse’s inspection, I noticed across the hallway, the door to Julie’s room slightly ajar. “She’s had a difficult session,” a tall bearded attendant quietly mentioned as I moved towards the room. No more warning prepared me for the change.

Julie and I had spoken earlier in the day on the phone.

“Yes, I’ll be by later tonight. Anything you’d like? Chocolate?”

“Did you hear,” she said, “I tried again.”

“When? How?”

“They took my watch. Ya’ know the small metal clasp?”

I pushed the door gently. The room was dimly lit by a sole table lamp which cast shadows on the sink in the corner of the room and the desk strewn with crayons and construction paper. My eyes stopped at the bed. Julie was curled on her side, head resting on a pillow at the foot of the bed. I stepped towards her. She didn’t blink, she just stared into nowhere. I set the bag of yogurt next to the lamp and leaned over my friend.

“Julie?” Softly, “Julie, it’s Katherine.” I touched her gently. Still she was oblivious to my presence. I’d left the door slightly open not knowing if help might be needed. Would she struggle or cry out? Would my visit sooth or trigger?…