You saved a life today….

Are you listening, read on, you actually saved a life today, she shakes her head, this guy is looney, she is a nurse, he is a psychiatric patient, long term, she plays along, say nothing, this guy is nuts, his smile, she has seen it a hundred times, you saved a life today, he is repeating the same words, the look in his eye, the sooner she is out of the room the better, your meds, he takes the glass of water in his hand, closes his eyes. She watches him swallow the pills, job done. See you later she says, as she turns to leave the room. He is a long termer, no prospect of getting released, institutionalised.

She is about to close the door, he calls her back, I got a present for you he says. From under his pillow, he removes a plastic bag. He skakes it at her, her eyes widen in surprise, the red blues and pinks, she recognises them, pills.

Like I said he smiled, you saved my life today.

How did I do that she asks tentatively, while taking the plastic in her hand.

You said hello with a smile that’s all.

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