DISCLAIMER: TPTB are some Spanish television company who unfortunately haven't seen fit to issue Hospital Central with English subtitles. My understanding of the story is indebted to the folk at Maca y Esther who have provided English transcriptions.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By halfofone


She is smiling at me - for me - and for one instant there is no-one else in the canteen. I struggle against the impulse to look around, to see who she is really smiling for. I know there is no-one there but I cannot believe she means it for me. I don't return the smile and the moment is over. She turns back to her companion.

The other woman is leaning into her, hanging on her words. If the bitch gets any closer they will be sharing oxygen molecules. I hate that woman, that Detective. She keeps arranging these meetings with Maca and I am certain that they have little to do with work.

The Inspector stands up. She is leaving but naturally she has to kiss Maca on each cheek and leave her card. They are both so sophisticated, so cultured. I hate this feeling. And when Maca turns towards me, I can't bear to have her look at me, comparing me like in an exam. Compare and contrast pathetic mousy little Esther Garcia with the elegant and glamorous Inspector Martinez. I avoid Maca's eyes and leave the canteen. She is hurt but I cannot subdue my anger. It will show itself, show myself, to be mean and twisted and unworthy.

Jose Luis is a welcome distraction for the evening. With him I feel at home, comfortable, superior even. He is an uncomplicated easy man - I am not off balance with him, teetering clumsily on skates as Maca drags me along in her wake - of course he is boring.

Maca is never boring, every moment with her is alive so I ask how can she love me? I am boring like Jose Luis, a coward, nervous of everything. She tells me I am sweet, teases me when I make mistakes about which fork to use in a restaurant or display my ignorance of books and art. She says she loves me. I cannot believe it. Her forbearance must end someday. She will become disillusioned, realise how dull and insignificant and beneath her I am. I don't fit in with her friends, her family, her life.

The sex is amazing, to watch her move under my touch, her composure and self-reliance falling away as I whisper to her and stroke her until she calls my name: for those brief moments, I believe her words of devotion. Then the doubts come back, the creeping sense that she is just marking time with me until someone better bumps into her in the street or walks through the doors of the hospital or is introduced by her suave friends.

When I brush away her tentative enquiries about dinner in favour of Jose Luis, she does not understand what she has done, why she is being punished. She has done nothing. I am not punishing her for what she has done but for what she will do, one day when I see her smile in my direction and look over my shoulder and realise that this time her smile was not meant for me.

The End

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