Main | Friday, October 15, 2004

7th and 12th

Last night, in front of St. Vincent's Hospital, I was standing in a large group waiting to cross the street. Next to me were two women, one holding a little girl. The woman holding the baby had puffy eyes, red and swollen from crying.

The older woman said, 'Well, it's good what the doctor said about the machine doing the work. Maybe that way he is resting.'

The young woman nodded distantly. 'I can't think about it any more. I just want to go home and take a hot bath and forget my life.'

I guess she instantly realized how self-pitying that sounded, because she shook her head in disgust, flashing me an embarrassed look as she impatiently stepped on and off the curb.

The older woman, heavyset, wearing a custodial smock, said, 'No, you are right. You need to get home and try to relax and not be all stressed. You need to be strong right now, strong for your son.'

The younger woman shifted the little girl in her arms to her other hip, and tilted her head back.

'Ay, Mami! Don't get me started again! I can't cry anymore. I'm done with that. I don't even think I have any more tears left.'

The older woman regarded her sadly.

'I gots some news for you, mija. When it comes to your babies, you don't never run out of tears.'

The light changed, and they stepped into the crosswalk, instantly engulfed by the crowd.

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