SR. SOL— It was a long hike, so this will be a simple question. How is she?
ANATH— Awaiting the Discharge Clearance Certification.
SR. SOL— That’s you waiting, not her. You really think this is the time for your nonsense?
ANATH— Thanks for the visit, Sr.
SR. SOL— Can’t I come up?
ANATH— Was it not long enough a hike?
SR. SOL— Let me see for myself.
ANATH— As if you yourself weren’t waiting for the Discharge Clearance Certification.
SR. SOL— She won’t mind me, I brought these dumplings.
ANATH— You can’t say she’s too young to mind you, too young to wait for discharge orders. She is the patient, you are the visitor, and I am the patient’s representative.
SR. SOL— I can leave now, but I’ll return when you’re away.
ANATH— Unless we are discharged, we are assumed the extensions of the hospital, you might go so far as to say we consist functions of it. There’s an IV line upstairs with her name on it, but if you leave, it will snake along the highway after you and follow you to your place of worship.
SR. SOL— You should be out looking for money. Banks won’t be open until Monday.
ANATH— There’s plastic wrap over the food. Just because it’s clear, doesn’t mean it’s invisible!
SR. SOL— I came to visit her, her, not you.
ANATH— And when you’re done visiting? Shall you take your visitor with you to your places of eating and sleeping and ‘socialization’? Shall you leave it here? But where shall I place it? Is it non-infectious? If so, how long shall it stay that way—
SR. SOL— I bring good intentions—
ANATH— Must we recycle?
SR. SOL— The best of intentions. I came to lay my hands on her.
ANATH— There’s a canteen up that slope, but down the road, fifty minutes from here, you’ll find gas stations with fast food counters. You don’t have to eat there. You may visit, just visit. It will take the busboys some time to notice your sweat on their tables.
SR.SOL— There is no hospital for someone of your make.
ANATH— Thank you for your time, Sr. You know how we’ve worried so. But it’s past 27 hours since the last fever, we’re thinking positive. That’s right!
SR. SOL— No hospital—
ANATH— With letters of silver—
SR. SOL— Not in any horizon.
ANATH— They’ll sign it, you’ll see. The Discharge Clearance Certification. I’ll sign too, when my turn comes.
SR. SOL— The time will come. When it does, I shall refuse to lay these hands on your fallen brow.