Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Way He Held Her

I was standing waiting to check in for my pre-natal blood screens. I was leaning into Sean, weak and frozen by the general sense of gloom that always weighs down on me at the hospital. It is a beautiful facility, but there is a bleakness, an absence of cushion from sadness and loss. The smokers out front, their faces drawn and gray, and their carriage a mixture of defeat and defiance, seem to represent the threat that it doesn't always work out.

Passing through the cloud hanging just on the other side of the automatic doors, came person after person, some flicking cigarettes behind them as smoke still snaked from their mouths, each more overweight and infirm than the last. I stepped back into Sean, grounding myself in the safety of his embrace, the feel of his body against mine, healthy and strong. After a while the smokers left, the haze clearing to reveal a wide expanse of blue sky. I looked down the hallway toward the elevators, there was no one, just the hospital's wall fountain, gurgling softly, cleansing the air.

The woman checking us all in was struggling with her computer, looking over her shoulder at coworkers oblivious to the line that was forming. The faster she tried to work, the more futile it seemed, and I looked away, back toward the window. An orderly was pushing a wheel chair through the exit doors, while a man in his late sixties, tall and broad, stepped out of a large F-150 and walked around to open the passenger side door. He wore a short sleeved shirt in a checked pattern tucked into Wranglers, he was confident and strong. The orderly and the man exchanged words I couldn't hear and then moved to help the person out of the wheel chair.

Her hair was curly and short, a soft halo of silver with black flecks. Her blouse was light and she held her arms out at her sides, unsure as she stood. The orderly stayed beside her, guiding her while the man watched. His face softened and he gently glided around her, gingerly holding her arms and then she was steady. His touch chasing away any hesitation, and she settled into his arms as he lifted her into the truck. Perched on the seat, her face turned slowly, first to the orderly, a weak "Thanks," as he headed back into the lobby with the wheel chair. Then she looked to the man, raising a hand and touching his arm, she smiled, tired. He leaned against the truck and beamed. I imagined this wasn't their first trip to the hospital, most likely would not be their last. But in that moment, there outside the hospital, they were ageless and pain free, in love and cushioned for their journey.

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16 comments:

mammacheryl said...

It's amazing what a little love and tenderness will do to moments where dignity could falter.

Colleen said...

I love the things you notice out there in the world. The bit of light.

Lisa Milton said...

I've read that last paragraph three times - it's so beautiful, touching. Thank you.

BOSSY said...

It doesn't take much...

dawn224 said...

Perfect... I'll bet she's leaned on him before too.. just like you lean on Sean.

Janet said...

You relayed that vignette so vividly. You are a gifted storyteller.

Momma Bean said...

Wow. I almost feel as if I'm watching them myself. And surely he needs her as much as she needs him. Beautiful.

Amy York said...

You certainly have a way with words, Mama! I was there with you!

The Hotfessional said...

Your writing is lovely as usual. Teary here.

Lara said...

what a lovely image. thanks for giving me a pleasant mental picture for the day.

BetteJo said...

You are always able to paint a picture. Thank you.

Pgoodness said...

That was so nice; you brought tears to my eyes.

chelle said...

what a wonderful moment to witness

Magpie said...

Beautiful little moment.

Christine said...

oh my heart. "in love and cushioned for their journey" so lovely. . .

Chaotic Joy said...

I always feel blessed when I get to see a bit of love like this, shared between two strangers. It's such a beautiful thing and it gives me hope.