The Kindness of Strangers: Waiting in the ER circa 3am

I was sitting upright on the examination table, waiting
for that special team they call in for cases like mine
when a janitor walked in to switch out the trash.

“How are you doing?” He said
“Alright” – the best I could manage
“Then why are you up there on that table?”
A wry smile and silence
“But you will be alright.”
I nodded, “Yeah, I will be.”

“But you’re not alright now, so why did you say you are?”
“I don’t know, people lie about that all the time.
You ask how they are and they just smile and say they’re fine.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” he said, his tired eyes locked on mine,
“But there’s a time and a place for everything,
and you don’t have to say you’re alright right now.”