With a silent heavy sigh, I grabbed a magazine and sat down. Yup another long wait to see the doctor. Annoyed, I thumbed through the pages reading recipes.
With my back towards a large window, I had a great view of all the people in the room. Some people read, while others watched the TV anchorman announce the weather " Tomorrow it will feel like 100 degrees" He said. A few people grumbled about the heat.
People came in, while others left. I still sat waiting when three more people came in the room. A mother and her son being pushed by his grandmother in a wheelchair.
The grandmother lifted the young man out of the wheelchair with ease, and sat him in a waiting room chair. She gently passed her hand through his hair wiping the sweat. “Did you have the air condition on in the car” she said with grave concern to his mother. “Yes, on high” the mother replied.
The young man had one arm missing, his other arm bent, fingers twisted, legs limp, and his body shook with no relief.
My heart ached, I glanced down at my magazine and tried not to watch or listen anymore.
Drawn to the young man once again I looked up. I didn’t notice his contorted body but his amazing smile and his infections laugh.
He spoke with a heavy slow slur, Joking, laughing and teasing his grandmother (I laughed). The grandmother smiled, softly squeezed his face with her hands then kissed him.
His smile showed his inner soul. The character of a young man loving and kind. My eyes swelled with tears. I turned the page of my magazine.
The young man notice a lady sitting on the other side of his grandmother, with her mother. She sported a large tattoo on her arm proudly. “I like your tattoo.” He said (His grandmother repeated his words so they could understand). “Oh thank you” the lady replied. She told the young man where she got it. “You should get one” she said with an eager voice. “Ya I am going to” he replied. “That is why.. I couldn't understand what he said but just then the lady said ”just get drunk and do it...you won’t feel any pain”. The grandmother told the lady that he was walking and a drunk driver hit him at the age of 17 so he doesn’t like drinking. “Oh” the lady said. The conversation ending.
The grandmother lifted her grandson up and placed him in the wheelchair and they followed the nurse.
Now there happened to be a women who sat close by the lady with the tattoo and her mother. The women turned to them with tear filled eyes.
“It broke my heart to see that young man. I had to go outside because I started to cry.” She said to the both of them. “I just lost my son a few months ago. We were traveling to Orlando when a drunk driver came in our lane, we over compensated and the car flipped over ten times. I don’t know why I am alive. We were taken to Health first in Melbourne, my sister is a nurse there. She didn’t even recognize my son in the trauma unit.”
Now the mother (of the tattoo lady) had asked the women a few questions, all the time mindful of the women's deep sorrow. The women said “I haven’t been going to the trail only my husband because I might kill the man who killed my son. How sad it all is, the man has children, now he will go to jail.” The room felt heavy and silence resumed. I looked at my magazine.
A few minutes later the women spoke again. “I lose my other son to the Iraq war about eight months ago.” The mother and the lady with the tattoo sat speechless. I thought to myself how could this women even find strength in her heart to speak. My head was throbbing from holding back my tears.
My name was called, I put the magazine down. As I followed the nurse to the back room, I found myself thinking how trite my ailment felt to me.
The next morning laying in bed I thought about the those people in the waiting room. I cried.
I got up out of bed, fed the cats and had hot coffee. I paused and thought one mother is now waking up to a son in a wheelchair and another without any children.
Those drunk drivers never thought about how they would change two mothers lifes forever. Maybe they wouldn’t have drove drunk if they thought it might have been their own children!
I can’t remember ever being in real time hearing mothers speak about losing there children to drunk driver (only heard that on tv).
That day has been burnt in my mind forever.
I am happy I got to meet those people, even if they never knew I met them.