The Clinic

There were babies crying in the waiting room. Lots of Mexicans with masks on. One was coughing; he was asked to leave.

Nurses kept coming out from behind a door calling names. Lopez, she called, Is there a Mrs. Lopez here? a tiny woman carrying a baby came running from her seat. She was shaking. Kept saying, muy frio. Had her child wrapped in a colorful blanket. She and her child went behind the door. You could hear the baby crying out in the lobby. Scared of strangers. Maybe she anticipated needles. Hard to say what a young mind is thinking.

Over in the corner a black man was talking to himself; fast, very rapid. Talking about Saint Francis. Talked about Saint Augustin. All of it was mushed together. He prayed out loud holding onto a rosary. There was a medallion round his neck of Padre Pio. The older man took a pick with a black fist formed at the top and tried hard to run it through his hair. Then he paced back and forth. Mumbling to himself. The front desk kept an eye on him.

Raphael, the nurse called. Raphael, she said again. The black man raised his hand and continued pacing. Come back to see the doctor, Raphael, she pleaded. Eventually, he too went behind the door.

It looked dark outside. The rain would be here soon, I thought. Drops hit the tinted glass. A nurse came out and called my name. I was so excited about seeing rain that I didn’t hear her at first. I did not want to go. I wanted to watch the rain.

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