Two men in a hospital room,
both were quite sick and old.
They were separated by half a wall
or so the story is told.
They never saw each other
but they talked quite often.
Time went by very slowly –
lonely hours talking did soften.
The man by the door was Tom.
He had no friends or family.
Only the doctors and nurses –
not even a radio or tv.
Then there was old Greg
who occasionally got a card
from his daughter up in Denver.
She didn’t visit; it was too far.
Most days to pass the time
Greg talked about what he would see,
through the window on his side
of little room 103.
He said the window overlooked
the park across the street
where the children ran and played
and the parents rested their feet.
Girls in summer dresses
of pink, yellow and blue.
Little boys who chased their dogs;
they’d play tag – hide and seek too.
Greg’s stories usually cheered Tom
but as time passed by,
Tom started thinking it wasn’t fair –
“He gets the window – why don’t I?”
One fine Autumn day
Tom listened to Greg talk about
the red and golden leaves
and the children who were out.
They’d gather them all up
in a big, colorful pile.
Then take turns jumping in them
and tossing them around a while.
For a second Greg’s voice grew quiet
then Tom heard a choking sound;
a cough and a sputter
as something hit the ground.
Tom’s heart started beating fast.
His old friend wasn’t well.
He reached for the call button
and drew in his breath to yell.
Before the button was pushed
and before the yell came out,
Tom thought a second longer
and this is what he thought about.
If old Greg passed away
they’d move Tom to the other side
and he’d watch for himself
the children swing and slide.
He would see the colors
of the dresses that they wore,
the flowers, the sun –
not just an ugly brown door.
And sure enough the thoughts took hold,
as Greg’s machine began beeping.
Tom just closed his eyes
and pretended he was sleeping.
Soon enough the nurses came
but Tom knew the old man’s fate,
because the gasping breaths had stopped –
the nurses were too late.
A few days later Tom stopped
a nurse on her way out.
“There is something,” he said,
“that I wanted to ask about.”
“Could I be moved to the window?
With old Greg gone, it’s quiet.
I thought it would be nice
if I could just sit by it.”
An apologetic look came over her
as she wheeled Tom past the wall to see
“I’m sorry Tom, you see, there is no
window in room 103.”