Kalamata Hospital

I think the floor is made of one piece of lino – there are no joins. The mile of neutral grey smears defy corners and reach a short distance up the wall.  Such attention to detail becomes a passtime for us, the inmates of Kalamata Hospital.  Some are ill; some watch over. Some are improving, others are not.  It’s impossible to tell which way down the road each fellow traveller is going.
Here time stands still.  The doctor will come at 9.  At 10.  Its 12 and still no doctor.  He comes at 1 with an entourage, as triumphant as a returning crusader.  As he replaces catheters and scans charts his phone comes to life.  Not with a ring but with bazouki music, of course.
Black is the dress of choice for visitors; white for staff.  All staff are busy; all visitors are bored.  Outside, swallows wheel and click like marbles in a sack.  The early season sun has yet to bleach the hills, here it’s only spring and the tourists have yet to arrive.  The gurneys lie mostly idle awaiting the broken bones and clueless drunks the summer will bring.
Food arrives like an apology and is largely ignored.  The sweet smell of boiled vegetables conspires with that of excrement, fogging the brain and snuffing appetites room by room.
On the bed beside me is my daughter.  Limp, but vital.  Hungry not just for home cooking but for the warmth of loved ones and the life she left behind.  She’s one of the lucky ones.  She’ll be coming home soon.

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