I stood staring at my distorted reflection in the plastic wall separating the X-ray room from the magical room the technicians went to where the film always came out clear but never before a long wait. I wore a faded blue hospital gown and black socks. That was all; and yes it was cold. There had been cute white socks with purple puppy dog prints on them to wear along with the gown. I had opted to wear my own, mine looked warmer.

Standing in the sterol room my mind had nothing to do but wander. Was I nervous about the surgery coming up in a few hours? No. I was simply anxious to get it over with. Everyone had asked me if I was nervous when I told them about the upcoming surgery and I'd always answered in the negative. First the surgery had been to abstract, too far away, to label with an emotion. Then I had refused to be nervous, since that seemed to be what everyone assumed I should be. I always do my best work when it's in spite of someone. Then the surgery was in my face, minutes away from happening and it was too late to be nervous.

Besides, it wasn't that big a surgery anyway, I would be sleeping in my own bed tonight if everything went right. If I could sleep at all. Would I be in to much pain to sleep? Would I still be so drugged it wouldn't matter?

I shifted, re-gripping the back of my gown and pulling it more securely around my front. I watched the hem of the garment sway about my shins. I wondered if the last person who had worn this gown had a more serious surgery. Had they come into the ER with a stomach ache and ended up getting major organs removed? Had they hastily dressed in this gown before the nurses hurriedly removed it to allow the scalpel free access to their flesh?

Or maybe they had heart surgery like I was about to have. Had they been nervous? Had they had everyone ask them if they were? Had they had the same questions I had? Where they too scared to ask them, like I was?

Or maybe their heart surgery had been more critical. They hadn't had time to be nervous or think up questions. Their surgery hadn't been a choice but a necessity.

Had they died? Had they died while wearing this gown?

Had more than one person died while wearing this thin, over large, ugly, cold thing?

My eyes dropped to my black socks, looking so dark and solemn in the bright clinical room. Maybe I shouldn't have worn them today; they seemed to be affecting my mood.