It was a forgettable room, Lev thought. Maybe that’s why it was difficult to remember things. The hospital staff were making him more dependent after his fall. Getting his own coffee while he read his books was never more valuable. Now he couldn’t get out of bed. Lev preferred isolation to the nursing staff who only saw his body and not who he was. His family came to visit and they kept moving things around. If he complained, they got hurt. His sister and niece were due to arrive any moment. It was an odd feeling of wanting to talk to people, while dreading every second until they got there.
“Lev, you have visitors,” the wait nurse said.
“How are you brother?” His sister asked.
“I’ve been better; it’s difficult to remember things.”
“Stacie caught the attention of some boys in the lobby; she’s just driving them crazy.”
“I bet she is,” Lev said.
“Do you need anything?”
“A beer, a beach, and some beautiful women would be nice.”
“Well, you’ll just have to settle for this beach calendar I bought you. Here’s a non-alcoholic beer. The wait staff say it’s not good for you to drink.”
“I’ll be okay; you can hang the calendar on the wall. Any babes in it?
“Lev, your niece will be here any second; control yourself. Don’t you feel sad for objectifying women?”
“I just like to look at them.”
“This is why your relationships don’t last; you don’t see women for who they really are? I’ll get your beer ready. If you keep drinking this stuff, you’re going to get fat and unattractive.”
Stacie walked in. “Uncle Lev!” She gave him a big hug.
“How are you darlin?”
“Just fine. Mom’s taking me horseback riding after this and if I do well, she’s going to buy me an ice cream.”
“That sounds nice. Are you doing good in school?”
“I’m the class president and I made honor roll.”
“Wonderful. Do you still practice fly casting the way I showed you?”
“Lev, she’s too old for that. She’s in 7th grade. Girls don’t fish.”
“I don’t know… maybe if you let her explore things she liked, she might go for them.”
“Well, she has other things to do and so do I. You’re still a young man Lev, but 38 is close to 40, and after that, you’ll have serious trouble finding a woman without kids.”
“If Hugh Hefner did it, I can do it,” Lev said. It was the right thing to say to get her to leave.
That afternoon past slowly. Lev didn’t know if it was the drugs or the trauma or the loneliness, but he started to cry. There was no way out. When the nurses paid attention to him, he knew they were doing it because they were paid. Facing life without love is worse than death, but people do it all the time. Lev looked at his flower on the windowsill. Its yellow petals were turning brown in the sun.