Rejection Letters

Hospital

On my final night in Montezuma, I sprained my ankle navigating ill-lit stairs outside a motel that sat perched on a cliff side. I started to slide off the edge but managed to survive by catching hold of a rock and pulling myself up as waves pounded a jagged shore in the darkness below.

The next morning, I hobbled onto a bus from Cabano. It bounced like train pistons, ready to fall apart and separate, leaving us open to the wind, wheels and seats, coasting, engine and body chasing behind, gathering sparks.

In Paguera I rode the ferry across the bay to Puntarenas with unwashed backpackers and drunken locals returning from their beach day. I found a bench and watched Jurassic cliffs slide by, jutting thick and green from the mist-shrouded edges of the bay.

I took a forty-five-minute taxi to San Ramon, captained by the world’s most impatient driver. He skidded to a stop in front of a house where a man holding a siphon hose and a gas can opened my door and shouted, Hola, Gringo, before filling the tank. The driver passed thirty cars and punched the gas into every hairpin curve on the mountainous roads.

When I reached San Ramon, my house mother insisted I visit the city hospital. Inside, dark hallways led to the faint light of distant wings. Some fifty people suffered in the waiting room. A man ahead of me in line had a heart attack. He survived, the nurses said later.

A doctor emerged from behind a heavy door. A family gathered around him. He walked away, they flooded into the parking lot. The teenage girl’s shrieks cascaded back into the waiting room. Her boyfriend, a fatal car crash.

I watched the night turn cold and damp through the open door. What light remained glistened off water droplets and refracted the glow from signs.

They rolled me down a hallway littered with car crash victims on gurneys wearing neck braces and bandages seeping blood.

Half-functioning halogens strobed overhead.

An x-ray was performed. No precautions were taken. I received an injection in my ass for the first time since I could remember. The pain medication coursed through my veins, warmed my body. The lights took on a pleasant hue. All the horror seemed to have happened long ago.

***

Wilson Koewing is a writer from South Carolina. He has been rejected by The ThreePenny Review dozens of times. His work is forthcoming in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts and Tiny Molecules.

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