Two nurses walked by, but they were busy chatting and only gave her a glance. The gurney was pushed against the wall toward the end of the ER hallway, out of the way and away from their care.
Three patients on stretchers dotted the hallway toward the exit. Lisle swallowed her tears and waited for the little boy next to the closest bed to mind his mother and stop staring. Some good byes needed to be said alone, not in crowded hallways, not with little eyes watching. She didn’t have that luxury though. This was it.
The face sagged slightly. Maybe she was just imagining it. How could she have ever thought this girl was beautiful? Her Roxy red lips probably still had hints of the lies she’d told, even to herself. Pushing back her straightened hair, Lisle took one last look at her brokenness. She was hard and calloused. She didn’t want to be happy or whole. All she wanted was to keep Lisle in her world.
“This is it, I guess.” The tears didn’t come like she’d thought they would. The sad part wasn’t the loss, but the wasted life. So much lost time. Years of it. Gone. A pang of grief surprised her, and Lisle shook her head. “No.” This would be it. No grieving would cloud her days ahead, only joy and the realization that the girl’s world was no longer hers. “I won’t grieve for you. It’s not sad to see you go. It’s sad that I held on to you for far too long.”
She stepped away from the bed. “Good bye.”
“Mam, may I help you?” One of the complaining nurses must have circled back.
“No. I’m fine.”
“Do I know you?” The nurse twisted her mouth to the side and did something funky with her eyebrows, then lightened up. “Lisle?”
“Um, yeah.” Lisle bumped the gurney putting some space between them. The past would always be there, but it didn’t have to control her. She stepped to the side toward the exit, but the nurse caught her arm.
“You look different.” Her face lit up. “It’s good to see you getting your life together. Recovery program?”
That slowed down her nosey enthusiasm, and she sputtered like most people who have no clue what it means to believe in God. “That’s…great.” She glanced at the bed. “Why are you here? Visiting someone?”
“More like saying good-bye.”
“To who?” She looked down the hallway.
Lisle weighed her answer options. Mind your own business seemed too harsh, and the truth seemed just plain weird, and there would be no more lying.
“Lynn. I sat with you that time they had to pump your stomach, and then the other time.”
Lisle winced and nodded, grateful Lynn didn’t bring up the last time she had been here. “Yeah, well. I was messed up and broken, and I guess I still am, but that part of me is dead. I came back here to say good-bye to me. I died with Christ and have been raised to new life. I just figured I’d say one last good bye before I put it all behind me.”
Maybe the mind-your-own-business option would have been better. Lisle teetered back and forth looking for a good exit plan besides just turning and walking away. Lynn’s baffled eyes pulled her back. “Oh Lynn.”
The snappy nurse went from confused to worried.
“Thanks.” Lisle smiled, and Lynn’s eyebrows went back into place. “Thanks for taking care of me. I appreciate it.”
Lynn nodded, and Lisle felt better about a swift exit. Giving the gurney a small shove, she threw a kiss to the questionable hospital air. “Dead and gone, Lynn. You won’t be seeing that girl ever again.”
Lisle spun and headed for the exit, returning the kid’s high-five as she breezed by.