I have seen her for days now
rolling down the corridors
on an unsteady office chair
a flash of dirty blonde hair
whisking by our window every three minutes

She is not tied down by an IV
or wearing standard issue jammies (the kind that make you feel exposed and vulnerable)
her tween jeans tight around her ankles
a soft mask protecting her face from the rogue germs that fester in this place

I am curious, on the fourth day,
as I watch her at the nurse’s station
her backstage pass an obvious indication
that she has been here before

We strike up a conversation
her dry sarcastic humor
on par with others her age
her wry smile hidden behind
sterile gauze, but, I imagine, it is a beautiful one

I’m going home today
she tells me      
her head cocked to the side
hands wrapped around the back rest
I’ve been here three weeks and i’m outta here at 10
going to Disneyland tomorrow
and I picture her with her friends
blending into the background
of the happiest place
on earth

I mention my son
motion to our room behind me
tell her when she asks
that he has CF (among other things)
i’ve got it too
she says, in between her seated pirouettes
       the really bad kind
she spins in the chair
       once more
I’m gonna need a lung transplant in two years

my ears ring
and for the first time
in a long time
i am at a loss for words
and for the first time
in a long time
i do not think about my son

her name
it means
white. fair. blessed

i am not amused
by the irony

i watch her roll away
in the opposite direction
and later mention her to a nurse i thought i liked
good luck with that
she says to me, in a tone most use when talking about
overdue bills
hair appointments
there aren’t enough lungs to go around
and I consider smacking her
across her
blasphemous face

for the second time
in a very short time

i am
a loss

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5 Replies to “White. Fair. Blessed.”

  1. I am sure I would have had the same reaction…other than you have the amazing ability to keep your mouth shut and I do not. Being a teacher of many types of special needs children (autistic, cp, cf, downs, gifted…) I tend to speak up sometimes when I shouldn't. Especially when someone is downing a child's dream.
    I probably would have said something like, "maybe YOUR lungs will become available." Shame on me, but it's true.
    Thank you, Jo…for giving us intimate glimpses at your world.

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