The Coat

I open my eyes. I am laying on my back. I feel like I should know where I am, what has been happening to me. But I do not. Perhaps I have never known. But these thoughts do not help me, so I push them away. 

The room around me is grey and featureless. I am on a mattress on the floor. The sheets are clean, but somewhat dingy from so much use. I am dressed only in a similarly dingy gown. It seems as though I am in a hospital, but this room is unlike any hospital I can remember. And I do not feel sick or injured. Not a hospital then. But where? The past is a fog as grey as the walls of the room. 

There is a door to the room, across from the mattress, but I know, without trying it, that it won’t open for me. I don’t question that awareness. Its truth is obvious. 

There is nothing else in the room, so there is no point in moving. I have nothing to do. And moving is not enough to distract me from thinking. So I simply lay there and stare at the ceiling. 

Eventually, the door opens, and a white coat floats into the room. After it shuts the door behind it and turns to face me. It’s unnerving the way it seems to be watching me. I wish it would say something instead of just hovering there. But it torments me for a few moments longer. 

When it finally does speak, its voice comes from its neck opening. “So, how are we today?”

I remain silent, if only for a few moments, hoping to annoy the coat as much as it unnerved me. “Well, I can’t speak for you, but I’m fine.”

The coat put its arm into one of its pockets and seems to pull out a notepad and pen. The items hang in the air several inches from the end of the coat’s arm. The pencil begins writing on the notepad. 

“I wish you wouldn’t do that.” 

The coat stops writing and turns its attention back to me. “Do what?”

“Write down everything that I say. You know it bothers me.” 

The coat moves a little closer to me. “Wait. Are you saying that you remember having conversations with me before? You remember seeing me before?”

“Of course I remember. Why wouldn’t I? And you always bring out that damn pad and pen as soon as I open my mouth.” I turn my head to look at the ceiling. What an idiot. I can’t believe they send this coat to check on me. 

“Wait. Look at me.”

I wonder what it wants now. But I can think of no reason not to listen to it. As infuriating as it is, it’s more interesting than a silent, grey room. So I look at the coat once more.

“What?”

“Tell me what I look like.”

I actually sit up and throw my hands in the air. The frustration at the coat’s inane questions gets me moving. “This is really too much! What do you look like? You look like what you have always looked like. A perfectly normal, floor-length, white lab coat. What do you think you look like? A person?”

The coat truly seems disappointed at my response. But I cannot do anything for it. I haven’t the slightest idea how to console it. 

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