In the Waiting Room..

She is a tiny, airbrushed, delicate creature from Sri Lanka- a paper princess with crystal-ball eyes that see through polite faces, and ears that selectively tune out questions of pain. On the overhead table sits a Bible large enough for a pontiff- though not rivaling the enormity of her overswollen and tympanic belly. With deliberate devotion she opens the onion-skin pages replete with holy words, and reads slowly, devouring with her eyes what she cannot consume through her mouth. To stay alive until her son comes- the prayer unarticulated, yet resonating through longing glances in a direction well beyond the hospice walls.
To stay awake. With pain unassuaged by opiates that dull the mind- she preserves the sacred right to feel and experience every moment, draining the cup that will not pass otherwise from her. And this too is swallowed up in victory, so it is said. We dance together- a waltz from bed to commode, from commode to recliner chair. Serene and beneficent as a medieval saint, she blesses me as I leave. I pray that her son arrives today.

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