|Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash|
It's like someone is holding my heart outside of my chest, and with the gentle care of an adolescent monkey. All my insides are screaming for the sweet release of my heart's safe return.
But there's no guarantee of that. It's my baby in there fighting for his life while I'm out here in this cold, depressive room cluttered with cold empty chairs. It's all so cold. Life is so cold.
Pacing back and forth furiously, I glare at the ER doors as I pass, willing them to open. I need to know what's happening. I need someone, anyone, to tell me that my child, the fruit of my loins, the light of my life and whole purpose for being is going to be just fine.
My husband comes flying through the entrance and grabs me, pulling me so tight my breath is caught. I don't want him to let go.
He doesn't even ask me if there's been an update. He can tell by the look on my face and the trembling of my hands. I immediately go back to pacing, moaning like I'm the one suffering from a gunshot wound. The husband goes to the nurse at the desk and speaks in hushed, intense tones with no success.
There is no update. And no, we can't go back there. Please sit down and wait.
I clench my fists and my brain feels like it's going to explode with the effort to keep from screaming til my voice breaks.
Another family walks in to the waiting area, looks of concern but not hysteria. A child coughs. Really? A cough? Maybe a fever? MY CHILD IS DYING IN THERE!
That was us once. We brought our tiny boy in for a high fever and lethargy. We thought we knew fear then. And we thought now that he's grown we could relax a little.
He's a teacher for goodness sake. Fresh off the college presses. Barely wet his man feet in the pool of inner city public school when we're called with the words: your son has been shot. Not at school. Not in some decrepit alley where he didn't belong. Not even at the local convenient. Right inside his very own apartment where he still had boxes waiting for me to help him unpack.
He welcomed his shooter in. A child from his 7th grade class. The one he'd been reaching out to, attempting to invest good. But the kid had a gun. Not for my baby, but for himself. My grown man cub attempted to save his life as the child went to pull the trigger on himself. He shot my boy. Then he killed himself.
I find the tiniest bit of comfort in the very back of my mind, thankful that I'm not that family. I have hope of that update. I desperately need the update right this very second, but without it there's still hope that this will all go away. Without the update I can imagine him walking out those swinging doors in all his lanky adultness, goofy grin and all. Without the update...
The doors swing wide. The moment I've been pleading for and dreading all at once has finally arrived.
I crumble to the floor.