Angel in the MediFold

Paul Rousseau

In clammy triage room, Nurse says word. Mail. Male function. Have not done that for while. Ha. Wait. No. Malfunction. Needs repair. Nurse says wiggle toes. Can. Not. Nurse says lift hand. Could not after bang-pop-smoke. Can. Not now. 

Nurse forgets courtesy hot breath to warm fingers before reaching. Reaching in MediFold. MediFold described to me as tight curtain in back of head. New tech. Advanced. Have never seen. But felt. Feeling now. As cold hand removes cartridge. Brain no longer hamburger meat shaped as fist. Is old game console. Is slots. Is prongs. Remove, able. Upgrade, able. For me, fix, able. After bang-pop-smoke. 

While back, at Moonbeam Diner. Late night. Fiancée there. Booth by long horizontal window. Arguing. Wedding off. She, good person. Me, okay person. Us, not right fit. Expect different things out of life. Fiancée cries over untouched wheat toast. Burnt fried egg. Gets soggy. Me, sip coffee with heavy cream. Already soggy by design. In parking lot, big music belches out of big cars. Big people exit cars. Have own arguments. There’s, probably little compared. Compared to our. Argument. Then, thing between big people heats up. Weapons, drawn. Weapons, fired. Stray bang-pop-smoke hits me. In head. Me, fall to floor. Still hear window shatter. Sound like one-thousand tiny thunderstorms. Still see broken glass all around. Shards jagged, like bolts of lightning. 

Now. This. 

Nurse replaces cartridge in MediFold. Again no courtesy blow. Says move. Can. Move. Done. Appointment finally over with. 

Ex-fiancée, good. Ex-fiancée, fine. She calls. Feels responsible. That night, suggested Moonbeam. I said I cook. We stay at apartment. Keep home stuff at home. She said no. Insisted Moonbeam. There, she said, food as messy as life. She said, your (my) food, too neat. Too tidy. 

Ex-fiancée visit? Has. Not yet. Wants to. Soon. Too guilty feeling, I think. 

She says, over phone, has new cat. Says cat freaks out at own reflection in bottom of stainless-steel washing machine. Thinks it’s second cat. Cat had sister. Has. Not dead. Adopted by other family. Ex-fiancée says, cat then shimmies as if on tightrope to back of washer, meows, expecting other cat. Sister cat. But behind, just power cable and tubes to make machine work. Behind, like me, nothing real.

Paul Rousseau is a disabled writer. His debut, Friendly Fire: A Fractured Memoir is forthcoming from HarperCollins September 10, 2024. Paul’s work has also appeared in Roxane Gay’s The AudacityCatapult, and Wigleaf. You can read his words online at and find him on Twitter at @Paulwrites7

Photo by Gowrinandan Unnakkattu on Unsplash

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