The blinds should have been closed. The nurses were either distracted or negligent. Maybe there had been an emergency. He didn't know.
Let’s call him Colm.
The ward was dark. It was two seventeen in the morning and Colm was standing on the eighth floor of Brooklyn's Methodist Hospital. The blinds were open. Beyond the inviolable window, the lights of the city, his city, New York, danced in the distance -- sending remote yet urgent messages of comfort. She was sleeping out there.
It begins as a shiver in the left Parietal Lobe. A message: "It's coming." From there, it spreads, almost always favoring the left side of the body. His head would tilt, left; his shoulder would drop, left; his stomach muscles would contract and convulse, left side, of course. That was the true pain. The core of the body. That was defeat. Occasionally, if the attack felt especially prickish, it would cross to Colm’s right leg and give it a proper final jerk -- sometimes as high as six inches. And then, peace.
Colm’s options were twofold: fight or say fuck it. The fights were often long. Thirty minute battles that left him exhausted and depleted. Sure, there were times he was victorious. But they were few and far between. Often, it was just easier to give in, get it over with. Enjoy the peace before the next one comes.