Dear Journal: Between

Dear Journal, It’s always interesting when my mother comes to visit because at those times I’m both a son and a father, both a child and an adult, looking for acceptance yet strong enough to discipline just the same. I find it curious because I never felt like I wanted or needed acceptance as a … Continue reading Dear Journal: Between

The Beginning of Hope

OldBlackManThe room is deathly quiet, save for the soft sound of sniffling in the corner. That’s where the baby is, asleep on the floor, atop her favorite blanket. There was no money for a crib, or a mattress, or even a pacifier to soothe the child’s sore gums, so he had improvised. It was something he had experience in, the improvisation, not the child. He is absurdly afraid of the child, which is the reason for the separation, the opposite corners.

The man is a study in contradictions, with his frayed suspenders and designer shirt that do nothing to hide his emaciated figure. Indeed he appears to be wasting away as he sits there staring out the large, clear window. He breathes a sigh of relief that the child is asleep. The previous night had been a long and harrowing experience, punctuated by screams that pierced the static air of the room. He aged a year in one night.

The woman left in winter, during the longest month. He knows because he marks it on his calendar, the old one that he recycles from year to year. It is missing April but April never seems to come when he wants it to anyway so it is not relevant to him. He cannot remember why she walked out the door, but he can remember the vacant look in her eyes, the ones that used to give back more than they took in. She looked at him with those strange eyes and walked out the door.

The baby shifts on the blanket and he recognizes this as a precursor to the child waking up again. He covers his eyes with one large dark brown hand, hoping to preserve this quiet for just a few moments longer, knowing that it is probably an impossible dream. He wishes he were the one who left. He had been thinking about it, of course. The child hadn’t been part of the plan for his life, no more than it had been for hers. But he cannot abandon it now. The stirring continues. Continue reading “The Beginning of Hope”

Those Strings of Tension

tumblr_l3x5vcFP271qzklmoo1_500Monday night couldn’t get here soon enough. First they told us probably Monday morning, then it was “sometime after four,” and we were hoping for four but we knew it wasn’t to be, and then the final time quoted us was six o’clock in the evening. We had been in and out of Alexa’s room all day, playing the waiting game, a game that no one wins. And it would have been easy to give in to the impatience that had been building all day long, but we held strong somehow, even if that strength happened to be a fragile one. They had given her no food since seven o’clock on Sunday night, in readiness for her procedure, but as the day stretched on and we found out the “four o’clock” timetable, we were definitely not pleased because it meant no food for the entire day, and Alexa was starving by lunchtime while everyone else was able to eat. I felt horrible for my little one.

Then the doctor came in at 4:30, while the strings of tension were stretched tautly, and told us the final aim was for six that night, and because it was the first time we had actually seen someone in scrubs who had obviously just been in the operating room, or because we were just all out of steam, we believed him. And like clockwork things were finally starting to happen as they should. The assistant came up with a wheelchair right around six to escort Alexa to the operating floor to get prepared for the procedure. Of course that didn’t sit well with Lex because she gets really anxious, so you can imagine even though everyone from nursing students, to nurses, to doctors told her she wouldn’t feel a thing, that she was going under general anesthesia, she still got so upset.

When I say upset, I mean upset, too. Continue reading “Those Strings of Tension”