Leslie R. Lee
copyright 2009 by Leslie R. Lee
Gail observed the mother and son on the monitor. She saw the tension in the mother’s hands carefully laid in the lap, hardly moving, in the lips pressed tightly together, and in the eyes. Staring straight ahead... Seeing nothing... Yet slightly narrowed as if there was something floating just inches in front of her face. Though the mother herself was about forty, her clothes were old, and in Gail’s limited experience, out of fashion. A welcome change from the affluent who usually passed through the medical center. The mother was a down to earth woman who was being buried very, very deep in that very same earth.
The son played among the toys, a smile blazing from his face. He moved his blocks from one spot to another. Sometimes stacking, sometimes just holding the block up for inspection. Occasionally, he would look at his mom and smile. He was happy as a young child could possibly be. Except that he was twenty. Down Syndrome. The mother had put on the questionnaire that it was Down’s.
Gail shook her head then rubbed her eyes. She pushed back her greying hair back behind her ears. Her reflection in the glass showed a forty-ish woman. She wore the white coat of the medical profession to give some small peace of mind to her patients. A signal that said, “Yes, she was a real doctor”. She knew she looked too severe. But, if she was lucky, it would give her a little space between her and the patients and their families. She was still attractive she hoped. Someone who had chosen to be alone this late in life. A modern woman. A professional woman. She breathed in deeply, then tried to blow away the fatigue. A woman still though.
She looked again at the boy. She always thought of these cases as children no matter how old they were. The receptionist had put down on a piece of paper that the mother had specifically asked for the last appointment of the day. As late as possible she had requested. Well, maybe she had a job although none was listed. Just one more mother desperate for a miracle.