The Newhouse Women
He tried to obliterate her.
Every doctor who picked up her chart thought it. Every nurse who entered her room announced, with a dense sadness punctuating their words, how close she had come to being eliminated. Each of the seven days the victim’s family lived in the cramped, sterile room—spilling in and out into the waiting area and acquiring that space as well—turned only when the morning nurse shook her head after recording Aponi’s vitals and the absence of change in her deep sleep, then quietly declared, “He intended to kill her.”
Shifts changed with the words. Blankets were folded and unfolded; pillows were passed between related fingers in response to the alarm that the words sounded in the small hospital room. Aponi’s favorite book of poetry was dog-eared for the relief sliding into the chair stationed to the right of her bed. The chair that was only empty when one person rose and another waited to sit. Or when a nurse or doctor new to the case asked that the occupant allow her to get closer to the patient before being gently informed by a veteran of the week that the left side of the bed was where staff was to attend to Aponi. The family maintained a constant vigil to her the right.
Goddess was done with it all by day five and made arrangements to move her granddaughter to the family home two days later. It was obvious to her that the hospital could do nothing more than monitor Aponi and clean the wounds left by the surgery that had lasted fifteen hours. Fifteen hours to repair and reset and reconfigure the bones in Aponi’s legs, a hip, her left arm—to address the dent in the middle of her forehead. The doctors were confused by the normal brain activity. No one who had seen Aponi when she was brought into the hospital—lifeless and covered in blood—could understand why she was still alive.
“She should be dead,” the doctor who signed off on her release stated.
“He intended for her to die.”