What if I don’t want to be beautiful?
What if I want to be strong?
What if I want to be more
than the limitations
of this present form?
What is the path?
Where is the fork?
When the first thing anyone sees,
is the last thing
I want them to think of me?
I am not perfect.
I am broken,
make me wonder
what I am doing wrong,
that my value, is still,
in how I look,
I can do.
Suzanna checked her watch. Sam had been in surgery for thirty-five minutes. Greg had been gone four hours. He had not answered her calls or texts, typical. Her husband was never around when she needed him. In four hours, everything had fallen apart.
Alone in the waiting room, Suzanna wiped tears from her cheeks.
A pair of doctors, surrounded by a trio of nurses, leaned over the diminutive prone figure on the table. Orders were barked. Vital stats were returned. The operating room was a flurry of contained excitement, of urgency . . . until it wasn’t. Until the only meaningful sound to be heard, other than the rasping breath of the patient was the gentle drip, drip, drip, of blood pooling on the floor.
Danny stepped cautiously towards the waiting room. He wanted to run but he knew he needed to be a rock in this time of terror. If Greg wasn’t there, he had to be.
Suzanna made no notice of his approach. She was hunched over, covering her face with her hands.
At his muted greeting, she stood up and collapsed sobbing into his open arms.
Greg paced the sidewalk. He knew he had to decide once and for all. There was no point in dragging things out any longer. If it was time for him to go, he should go. Suzanna would understand. Well, maybe not understand exactly, but she knew he was disconnecting, pushing away. He knew it was time to give up. It was time to say what he should have said years ago.
Greg took a deep breath and pushed send.
Danny’s phone pinged breaking the silence of the waiting room and startling them both. He did not want to release Suzanna to check the message. No one could be more in need of him in that moment than her.
It was Suzanna who pushed him away, after a few seconds.
“You better check that,” she said, her voice as devoid of emotion as it had been full before, “it might be Greg.”
Greg leaned back against the hood of his car. He wondered how long it would take to get a response. Having made his decision he did not want to wait around any longer. He wanted to make the break and get out of there before either of them tried to change his mind.
“He wants the key to the office,” Danny said as he puzzled over the message.
“Why?” Suzanna asked, “What for? Did he get my voicemail? Does he know what is going on?”
“Hold on, hold on.” Danny could feel her body begin to tremble. “I don’t know. I haven’t a clue. That was all he said. Let me call him. Sit back down.”
She sat. Danny took a step back and turned around to make the call. As if he could shield her from what was happening. Nothing was ever going to be safe again.
An eternity passed while Danny waited for Greg to pick up.
“Listen, man,” Greg answered.
“No, you listen,” Danny bellowed back. “I don’t care what is going on. I don’t care what you are up to or where you have been. You need to get to St. Mary’s right now.”
“Yes, Sam is in the operating room.” Danny paused. His indignation giving way to the grim reality before them. “There was an accident. She might not make it. You need to be here.”
He walked across the waiting room and lowered his voice. “It’s bad, Greg. She might not make it.” He glanced back at Suzanna. He didn’t want to say it, but he needed to be blunt so Greg would understand the gravity of the situation. “Your daughter is dying.”
He hung up the phone to Greg’s feeble pledge to be right there.
He took a seat beside Suzanna as she silently wept. He placed his arm across her shoulders. She looked up at him, deep sorrow in her red eyes.
“You’re wrong,” she whispered.
“I know,” Danny replied, “Sam is going to make. She is a tough little thing. I was just trying to get through to Greg.”
“No, that’s not it. I mean . . . yes, she will pull through, but that’s not what I meant.” Suzanna wiped her face with the back of her hand. “She’s not his daughter.”
“Oh,” Danny replied, “I didn’t know.”
“Neither does he.”
The pair waited silently as the doctors removed their blood soaked surgical gowns setting their minds to the next grim task.
The knock startled me from my solitary supper. I rose and peered outside. On my doorstep stood a slight woman with a cloak wrapped tightly around her to ward off the rain. Under the shelter of the awning, she pushed back her cowl, allowing me to see her eyes. They were a rich mahogany, eyes which had seen and survived a century's worth of hurt, eyes which drew you in, not solely because of their beauty, but also because of the depth of knowledge within.
I quarreled with myself, desperately wanting both to show her in and leave her out.
Existence is not so simple,
as at first it does appear.
There are dangers.
There are strangers.
and empty chairs.
Watch your tread.
and be prepared.
but do not load,
Do not fall prey,
Give all to love,
and it will be,
The sky erupted into a brilliant shade of pink imbued with streaks of orange. The ocean below threw back a mirror image of its sheen. Cullen smiled as he leaned against the guardrail and looked out across the sea. It was a beautiful evening.
Cullen had sealed the big deal. He had brought home the impossible commission. He could afford to buy his wife’s dream house. He would be her hero atop the figurative white stallion.
Cullen had saved the day.
He turned away from the ocean. He started across the street. There was a new found swagger in his steps.
Distant tires squealed. Cullen casually, unhurriedly shifted his gaze to the left. A van careened around the corner. Cullen stood stunned a moment before running out of the way. He felt the van whiz past, just missing him. He keeled over on the sidewalk, sweating, panting, shaking.
Inside the van, a woman was shouting. “Slow down! You nearly hit that guy!”
“It’s alright,” a man replied,” it’s alright, if we don’t get the plant in time, everyone is going to die anyway. I am telling you, the explosion will wipe this city off the map. If I hit somebody, I hit somebody.”
“I don’t like this,” the woman replied.
“We have to make it in time. We just have to.”
Weep bitter heavy tears,
sprung from aching empty hearts.
Hands clenched in silence,
open up in rage.
A life is lost,
But what life?
The value of each life,
The one is not worth more,
than the other.
It is not our place to judge,
our place is to love,
to affirm significance.
Leave medical choices,
to medical professionals,
Let the women weep,
listen to their fury,
lest we cover our ears,
close our eyes,
miss their suffering.
Make no mistake,
you drew the line.
I am prepared to answer for,
the blood on my hands,
You best check yours.