On call, ICU, Halloween 2010
Fluorescent lights scorch my sleep-deprived, red-rimmed eyes. Thirty-seven hours in the intensive care unit, weary, frazzled, sapped.
I walk by a Wizard of Oz scarecrow feeding applesauce to a tiny trauma toddler; I hear a Walking Dead wailing into the desk phone.
Rhythmic shushing of breathing machines ghost through the glass walls, staccato beats of heart monitors shadow my steps.
Double doors whoosh open and the waiting room gapes.
Parents reach toward me —pale, angled faces with monstrous black eyes asking questions I cannot answer, lips parted in silent supplication. I mumble banality and the apparitions, half-satisfied, skitter to the edges of the room.
I slip into the elevator and as it slides to the parking lot…
I realize I’ve missed the trick or treaters at home.
Diana Lyn Davidson