Nurse Josephine strolls under the arched walkway, surveying patients. The patients who choose to work in the garden are her favorites. There's something to be said about a person's relationship with nature. Just through observation, she sees that the gardeners improve or stabilize more quickly than any of the others. They're about the only people who seem to improve anymore, and the only people she can be around now.
She walks under a crabapple tree, looking up and imagining it in the springtime. Patient 507 just about lives here when the blossoms are in full bloom. It's her favorite time of year because it's her favorite way of seeing him.
On a whim, she seeks him out, sternly telling herself she's only doing her duty as a nurse. She finds him hidden in the corner of the yard by himself. Tucking her frock under her thighs, she crouches down beside him and watches as he digs out weeds.
She has never seen a man handle anything as lovingly as Patient 507 hands his camellias. He's been tending them for the past couple of years now, and he shows almost no signs of dementia praecox any longer. Her fond smile slips as she thinks about Dr. Eagan's order to give him insulin shock therapy.
The desire to simply pack up her trunk and walk out of here prickles within her. She thinks she would have done so long ago if it weren't for Patient 507. For a moment, Josephine imagines herself neatly packing Patient 507 along with her clothing and smiles at the image.
She reaches a hand out to touch one of the pink and white blooms but withdraws her hand at the last moment, unsure how the patient will react if she touches his flowers.
"They're lovely," she says instead.
"Thank you." His gaze his soft on the camellias.
She leans forward and breathes in, getting a light but sharp smell layered over the scent of dirt. "They don't have much of a fragrance, do they?"
"No," he says, "but I like that they bloom in the autumn and the spring when I feel I need them most."
There's something wistful about his voice that tugs at Josephine.
He plucks a fully blossomed flower and hands it to her. She carefully hides her surprise and takes it, tucking it behind her ear. She stands with one hand on the flower, feeling the smile on her face.
Once again, she reminds herself he's a patient.
Behind her, she senses someone watching. She turns her head enough that she can see out of the corner of her eye. The girl with the red curls and spectacles stands there, watching Josephine.ns 220.127.116.11da2