Mariel walks despondently out of the office of Dr. Goodman. It is a long corridor. Her head faces the stained jade carpet, every piece of withering wool clouding her mind and vision. She sees nothing, hears nothing, wants nothing, all because she knows everything. She has miscarried. Five years she has been trying. Five years gone. She feels an immense pain in her womb, but she fears to touch it. How could life deal her this? What has she done wrong? Why is she so undeserving to bring a human life to this world?
The sun is brighter than she remembered it being before walking in his office. The street seems a lot longer than usual as well. Instead of embarking on what seems to be a long, back-breaking journey up the block to the bus station, she stands still. She closes her eyes, trying to feel something good happening around her. Nothing. She feels nothing. She opens her eyes back up, and there is a little girl walking towards her. This girl does not acknowledge Mariel, but both of their presences will soon meet. Mariel realizes that this girl, so young and sweet, easily could have been her daughter. The daughter she always wanted. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Faded blue denim dress.
“Why does this girl refuse to look at me?” Mariel wonders.
She feels like stopping her in the street, picking her up, and giving her all the love that she can muster up. This is too painful. Mariel would have named her Sophie.
To hell with it. Mariel gently says the name.
Nothing. The girl hears nothing, or at least nothing that she considers to be directed towards herself.
Mariel can no longer stand it. She has to leave. She’ll be anywhere but here.
During this encounter that Mariel has had, a homeless man walks on to the same street as her. He saw everything. He saw how she looked at the girl. He saw how she painfully called the name of someone who was not there. He sees what Mariel can’t. This man is no stranger to anguish himself; his story may not parallel Mariel’s, but loss is loss. It feels the same no matter the individual.
He walks behind Mariel, slowly accelerating so that he can catch up to her. He is dirty–ragged gray clothes, no shoes. He hasn’t showered in three weeks now. Mariel has noticed this man following her and feels helpless as to what to do. She realizes that she no longer has anything left to lose in her life, including her own life, so she turns around to confront him.
She says nothing. She is completely unable to produce the words. She tries to scare him off first with a look of abhorrence in her eyes, then she tries a look of helplessness with the hope that he will realize that she has already been beaten down enough. Then she stops and looks at him. She really looks at him.
It is at this moment that she realizes that the only thing harder than saying goodbye is saying hello.
Spencer Collantes ’17