, May 2021

The waiting room seemed large for such a small hospital. He was the only one there. At the far end there was a small meeting room with chairs and a table with a Bible on it.

His wife was in surgery. She was bleeding internally and had lost a lot of blood. They didn’t know what was wrong. She seemed perfectly fine this morning. Then, just before lunch, there was a weak pounding on the other side of the wall. He found her in their bedroom bathroom, on the floor, in front of the toilet.

She’d been in surgery over an hour. He called her mother in Michigan, she said she’d be on the next flight. He called his own mother in New Jersey, she said she’d drive down.

He couldn’t sit. He’d pace, look at his phone, then gaze out the window at his car in the near-empty parking lot. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. He’d followed the ambulance and they ran several red lights, the traffic ahead pulling into the cornstalks to let them pass, crying as he drove, afraid of what they would tell him when they got here.

Finally, movement at the other end of the room. A man in scrubs. It seemed an eternity for him to cross the room. His face offered no clue.

“I am Dr. Cordova,” he said, extending his hand. ▪