Only ever love

I hate everything about this place: the ticking clock, the fluorescent light, the sound of the water cooler. Nothing here is comforting. Nothing here seems safe or warm.

They have her in the back; I heard her crying, earlier. They wouldn’t let me go in, wouldn’t let me see her.

They have fucking rules.

She doesn’t like to be alone. She doesn’t want to be touched, but she’ll let me hold her hand.

Only if they let me in.

But they have fucking rules.

I can hear her again. She’s screaming now. Pretty soon, someone’s going to come out and–

“Sir?” the nurse says, looking harried. “They can’t restrain her.”

“Why would they even try?” I ask, gritting my teeth.

“The procedure — there are rules — ” she is saying.

“FUCK your rules,” I tell her, and I light a cigarette on my way to the back, where I know they have her all but penned up, collared. When I walk in, I see her, bruised and big-eyed, and she is keening, and keeps up that noise until I can stand beside her, and put my hand down on her head.

She nudges me like a feral cat, and chokes the sobbing wail back down.

I sit next to her, and pet her carefully, and I am smiling for her when the needle goes in.

She goes limp in my arms, navy blue eyes registering no protest or betrayal — only love.

Only ever love.

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