77. Neglect

News flash:

Kindness was found, alone in her apartment, near death. She was dehydrated and malnourished. Odd, because her refrigerator was full of food and water and her pantry shelves were stocked with soup tins and spices.

When they found her she was lying on her side in the middle of the floor, unconscious, in a fetal position, with wilted fruit and flowers in her hands.

She is recovering now in a hospital bed. IV needle in her arm, EKG patches on her chest, electroencephalograph electrodes on her scalp. A pillow. A blanket. The television tuned to an info-mercial promising clear skin.

She has no visitors, no cards, no balloons, no teddy bears with stethoscopes – the sort they sell in hospital lobby flower shops.

The doctors are baffled. It’s not a coma. As far as they can tell it’s simply sleep. A sleep without dreams – her EEG shows slow wave sleep, never REM.

Outside, the world goes on without her. No visitors, no calls, no one filing a missing person’s report.

And the world goes on just fine.

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