I HAVE NOTHING
A Body Without a Name
The St. Patrick’s hospital was not a very pleasant edifice, but Dr. Myles was already accustomed to seeing those yellowish walls, like somebody who saw their living room. It wasn’t perfect, but it was quite cozy. He had spent twenty years working here, and St. Patrick’s was now like his home.
This morning, his office seemed cozier than ever, and not even the mountains of medical forms on his table could take away from his good mood.
But between all those expedients, there was one that had him quite intrigued—the one of Tom Collins. Who had chosen that silly name? It had to be Ms. Taylor, the boss nurse. She was in love with cowboy stories, and she surely had chosen that gunman’s name for that poor boy.
When he had arrived at the hospital, he had no identification with him. The only thing they knew was that he was a survivor from the Titanic, and that he had almost frozen to death.
Actually, Dr. Myles was sure that the boy had been dead for at least some seconds before being taken out of the water. That was a revolutionary theory, but he was sure that his vital constants had stopped for a very short time, and that that was the reason for his coma.
It was a miracle that he was alive. As he had been told, one of the boats had come to rescue some passengers that were in the water, and one sailor had hit his body and thought that he was still alive.
Some other passengers in the boat had yelled that they had to throw him back into the water, that carrying a dead man in the boat was unnecessary. But the sailor had insisted, saying that he was still breathing...luckily, he had made them shut up.
The boy was alive, but unconscious. They had finally decided to carry him to St. Patrick‘s when they had no hope of him waking up. That was what they always did with the patients with no hope. The hospital of Dr. Myles had become like death’s waiting room. But he didn’t mind having that reputation.
He was proud of the work and efforts of all his team, of the sweetness of the nurses changing the sheets of the old people, of how his young medical students tried to save those poor individuals that nobody else wanted to take care of. Maybe that was the reason for his caring about the hospital, because inside of it, there were lots of good people. People like him, who loved their profession.
That was what he had tried to explain to the young survivor of the Titanic who had come to visit him, asking for a job a few days after the tragedy. And he would have accepted her on his team, but there was the lack of money. It was hard to convince her that she couldn’t work for nothing, even when her words seemed truthful.
"What did you say was your name, miss?"
"Rose. Rose Dawson."
"All right, Rose. Listen to me. Sooner or later, you’ll need money. New York is a very tough city, and unfortunately, I can’t pay you."
It was a pity, losing her. She would have found her place perfectly in that familiar environment, but he was sure that she would find a better job somewhere else.
He couldn’t help but think about her when they had brought in that other survivor. Nobody knew his name. He wasn’t on any list of passengers. He was a completely wreck. And he was completely alone.
In the eight months that he had been in the hospital, nobody, absolutely nobody, had asked for him. The nurses had already invented a particular legend about the boy. Some of them said that he was an European prince, others said that he was an American heir.
But the doctor only saw a young man, fighting between life and death. A very strong man. Not everybody would have survived in the same circumstances. He didn’t know anything about him, but he was sure that Tom Collins, or whoever he was, had a very powerful reason to stay alive.
It was midday. As always, the doctor went upstairs to the top floor of the building. It was a routine visit.
"No, doctor. Everything is the same. We just bathed him. Poor boy...do you think he will ever be up again?"
"I don’t know. He may be in a coma for years. He may never wake up, or he may wish to die if he ever does."
"What do you mean by that, doctor?"
"A coma like his can have incredibly serious consequences, from amnesia to paralysis. You should already know that."
The nurse looked at the face of the boy. His blond hair was falling over his forehead. And when his lips opened, she could hear a desperate breath, almost imperceptible.
"He has blue eyes. Did you know that?"
But the doctor was not listening to her anymore. He was leaving the room with his hands in his pockets. The girl looked at the patient once again while she was closing the curtains of the big window, trying to keep the sun from his face.
It was absurd, because he couldn’t feel anything, not even the light or the heat. But they treated him like he was just asleep. They talked to him, they asked him forgiveness when they accidentally hit him, and they wished him good night before they went home.
Even Miss Taylor, always so quick-tempered, often sang him some song quietly. The boy, whoever he was, had something special.
The nurse took the medicines from the table, quietly said good night, and closed the old wooden door.
In the room, lying in the bed completely unmoving, Jack Dawson kept swimming in those quiet waters of a dream that could last forever.