Last week, I began republishing a series of stories I wrote a couple of years ago while waiting on my husband to have a colonoscopy procedure done at the VA clinic in Columbia. This was by far the hardest one for me to write. Just trying to get a grasp on her story had created a writer's block of sorts, not only on her story, but on other things I've written since. If you're reading my blog for the first time, you can catch up on the other posts by looking on the right hand side bar of this blog and clicking on May - and then April.
I'll call her the Sad One, because she was the only one in the waiting room that didn't share her first name. She was there when we walked in ~ facing the doorway with book in hand. I would guess her to be in her early to mid-fifties even though she looked younger. She was blonde and had one of those perpetually youthful faces with good bone structure and chubby cheeks - a Sally Fields kind of look you could say. Her hair was medium length with slight curls and long bangs which were pulled back from her forehead with a clip. We made eye contact briefly, but she quickly looked down at her book.
As the rest of us were chatting amicably, she made a great show of reading her book. Of course, the conversation flow was hampered by her location near the doorway, but I felt sure she wouldn't have joined in anyway. She was reading her book but not reading her book if you know what I mean. She may have turned three pages the whole hour and a half we were there. She would examine her hands and fingers and then bite her finger like I'm prone to do when I'm nervous. Every time there was any activity near the door, she would look up anxiously. The only time she seemed to pay any attention to us was when the conversation turned to religion and prayers which Lillian and the Ethereal, Mystical Margaret brought up and the rest of us joined in.
Finally a doctor came to the door and motioned for her. The doctor was alone. This was different ~ the others were motioned to the door by nurses with the patient in a wheel chair looking a little worse for the wear but ready to go home. There was no wheelchair with the doctor. She was gone for several minutes, then walked back in the waiting room and took her chair. She was wiping away tears which no-one else seemed to notice. I caught her eye, and quietly said "Are you okay?" She looked as if she was going to say something, but hesitated and said softly, "I'm okay." I knew she wasn't.
A few minutes later, I got up to go get Lillian some coffee which she had been hinting for an hour for her granddaughter to do. I walked out into the hallway and the Sad One followed me. I waited for her to catch up, thinking maybe she was going for coffee too. We stood there looking at each other. "Do you pray?" she asked. I told her that I did. "Will you pray for my husband"? I was thinking, Oh Lord, why is she asking me, the one who sometimes doesn't feel like my prayers are being answered because I'm not always Your good and faithful servant? Why didn't she ask Lillian or Margaret?
"What's his name"? I said. "Randy", she answered. I stood there holding both her hands right out in that hospital hallway and I made it through the prayer. It wasn't a fancy prayer, but it was a heartfelt one and I know He heard it. "Thank you", she said and walked back in the waiting room. I walked numbly down the hallway on the way to the cafeteria emotionally spent.
She was still there when I came back in and she smiled. She was still there when the nurse came in wheeling my hubby who was ready to go home. She said goodbye. She hadn't shared what was wrong with Randy and I didn't ask. Some things are better left unsaid. She had reached out to someone and she felt better. It's hard to face bad news alone.
I’ve wondered since how Randy’s situation turned out. I did continue my prayers and have often thought about the Sally Field looking lady, hoping that her sadness has been replaced with joy.