I found myself sitting at an admitting table in a hospital in an English seaside town. One of the local fisherman reached me after my boat sank.
Across the table was a college friend. Next to me was someone I went to high school with.
How did my ship sink, one asked. My only answer was a German U-Boat, which made no sense since the war ended more than 75 years before.
The man who brought me ashore dropped me in the middle of the town and told me to go to the hospital without providing instructions. He’d brought two of us back, the other an Englishman.
After wandering the town for several hours, I finally got up the nerve to ask directions. The townspeople all knew about the American who was rescued, but no one seemed interested.
That includes when I entered the hospital. The woman at the front desk seemed bored with me before I’d even arrived. She waved me over to the table so I could wait on a psychological exam.
I sat there for a very long time before the two people I knew came in and sat with me. They asked why I was there, but were also uninterested in the details of the shipwreck.
In fact, they started talking to each other despite being strangers in every way except their nationality. Eventually, they appeared to have forgotten about me, leaving me with my thoughts about how long I’d wait to see a doctor.