25 June, 2022

Fiction Friday - The Nose Knows

The antiseptic smell hit her in the face and nearly made Parqa gag. There might be people who hated hospitals more than she did, but Parqa doubted it.

Her hatred was born of years of repeated visits during her childhood, several surgeries, and extended stays. Now as an adult, she was returning to her gag-inspiring past as more and more friends and family members took ill or died. When her uncle was in hospice care, it was less terrible. He was still at home, and his home smelled the same. Mostly. A little chemical-y, after the hospice set-up was in place. If he'd lived further away, maybe she wouldn't have that to compare hospitals to, but he lived in town, so how could she not visit?

That was the thing. Parqa had inherited the family duties. Or obligations. Whichever way your mind chose to see it. She was the one doing the visiting these days. Her long ago childhood illnesses and ailments - and their subsequent treatment - had culminated in Parqa's extraordinary immune system.

"Good morning Parqa!" called out the entry nurse. "Who are you visiting today?"

"Mrs. Lopez?"

"Oh, good! She'll love having a visitor. Let me see... Room 302."

"Thanks Brandi." She knew most of the regular nurses by name.

Mrs. Lopez had been Parqa's mother's neighbor for years. Two single, senior, women, they looked out for each other - running errands, sharing coffee, inquiring after each other's children. Mrs. Lopez' kids lived far away though. It was unlikely they'd be able to make the trip.

Parqa might hate hospitals, but she loved being here for Mrs. Lopez. She would come again, if Mrs. Lopez held on long enough.

As soon as she left Mrs. Lopez' room, Parqa visited the public restroom. She scooped handfuls of water into her mouth and spit it out, trying to rinse the hospital flavor out. It didn't help. Feeling the bile rising, she hurried out of the hospital. There was a coffee shop at the end of the block. The strong aroma of beans roasting and a good strong cappuccino would obliterate the horrid taste-smell memory.

Coffee was always the answer.


Every Friday I write a new flash fiction piece. If you have a writing prompt you'd like to see turned into a story, just leave it in a comment.


  1. Yeah, hospitals do have that distinctive smell.

    1. Yeah. Not much else to say here. I didn't know where the story would go when I started it. It got super long in the patient's room and I deleted a bunch. But it all started with the smell, so I ended it with a different smell. Meh. I've written better.

  2. Blech! Her pulling water into her mouth from the sink of a public restroom made me gag. She must have a super-immune system.

    1. Maybe it took a slight gag to relieve the hospital air flavor!


I enjoy a good debate. Feel free to shake things up. Tell me I'm wrong. Ask me why I have such a weird opinion. ...or, just laugh and tell how this relates to you and your life.