Colouring is boring. Puzzles are boring. TV is boring. Drawing is boring, but that’s what Jamie does while his parents are doing whatever in Jessie’s room.
First Jamie draws Jessie, in the hospital bed, smiling. Jamie draws his parents on either side of the bed, not smiling, looking at Jesse. In the bottom right corner of the page he draws himself, down the hall in the waiting area, drawing stupid pictures because he’s bored. Out of the corner of his eye he watches whatever’s on the television up on the wall, even though the volume is turned off.
Some old lady is looking at him, which he hates, but he pretends he doesn’t know she’s there because she’s more likely to go away if he does that. She has a badge on her ugly green sweater so she’s some kind of person here but not a nurse. She pretends like she’s just walking by anyway but she stops and says, all high notes cheery, “Well, isn’t that a nice picture! Is that your family?” Since it is obviously his family, Jamie doesn’t feel the need to say anything, but maybe it’s rude to just keep watching the TV, so he looks at her for a few seconds. She points to the bottom corner and says, “Is that you? Why are you all the way over here?”
Jamie looks down the hallway towards Jessie’s room, where his parents are with Jessie, then down at his legs, crossed on the floor of the waiting room so he can draw dumb pictures at the low table meant for old, ratty magazines while his bum gets cold on the concrete. He thinks this woman must be very stupid to ask that question. He wonders if he really has to talk to her and if she’ll tell his parents he’s rude if he doesn’t. He doesn’t like her looking at his picture. It isn’t a very good picture anyway, so he crumples it up.
Jamie’s mom comes down the hall and starts talking with the lady. She brushes her hand over his hair as she goes by, and it feels all prickly out of place so he smoothed it back down but it doesn’t feel right anymore. He wonders if the lady will say he’s rude, but they’re talking about Jessie so they won’t think about him anyway, and he wanders down the hall to see his dad. When he stands up, his legs have pins and needles. It feels like he’s walking on static pillows instead of feet.
Dad’s asleep on the hard little arm chair with his head tilted and his mouth a bit open and his legs all long and uncomfortable-looking, with the toes of his scuffed-up shoes pointing at the ceiling. There’s a TV and it’s always on, but no volume in here either unless you’re Jessie; then, you can put on ear phones to hear it. But Jessie doesn’t.
Jamie approaches the bed.