The hospital wards held a distinctive smell. Disinfectant and desperation and decay. In the tea room it was less so. In the tea room it smelled of biscuits. It smelled of apple pie and powdered custard.
He was sat in the tea room. Everywhere he looked, people looked ill. Or sick with worry. A sort of sanctuary was sought in a cup of tea. Everybody likes a nice cup of tea. A cup of nice tea. He blew into the cup, snatches of conversation floated his way. It was as if they were all friends or family. The cancers relate them. They ask of each other, “Have you come far?” “How often do you come?” “How was the traffic?” Fleet and fast educations. They speak of their real relatives elsewhere in the vast hospital. They speak of the kindness of the doctors and nurses. The cruelty of nature. They drink tea…
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