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“Her” Story – An Outsider Sharing a Moment with Strangers

A crowd gathered, so many people they were almost smushed, inside the small corner they had claimed in the hospital waiting room. Some were clearly family. You could tell by the obvious resemblance. One woman introduced herself as “her” co-worker. I still don’t know who “she” is, but as I sat in the surgery waiting room this week, waiting for news on my loved one, I listened intently, almost mesmerized by the goings-on across the room from me. I began to think of it as “her” corner.

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The group grew larger and larger. There were a number of school-age children and it was most definitely a school day, which made me think, whoever they were there for, whatever the surgical procedure was, it must be a very big deal.

By this time, close to 20 people had assembled in “her” corner. Waiting. Small talk, idle chit chat, and polite niceties filled the time as mintues became hours. One man, a young man in his thirties, was wearing a womens beret with a gold leaf design on the side.

It must be of some signifigance to whomever is in surgery. His wife, maybe?

After some time, a doctor approached. I wanted to not stare, but I couldn’t turn my eyes away from the group… wondering, trying to deduce “her” story with every detail, Five or six of those in the group snapped to attention, jumped out of their seats and practically swarmed the doctor. My eyes fixed on the man in the gold leaf beret. “Everything went well,” the doctor said. “She will be awake and she will be able to see you and year you, but she won’t be able to speak for several days. That’s usually how these things go,” he told them.

Unable to hear the rest of the conversation, I just watched. Brain surgery, I guessed. It sounds like brain surgery.

As the doctor left, the man in the gold leaf beret grabbed at two of the children, lifting them in the air, one by one, for hugs. He squeezed each child tightly and wiped a few tears from his eye. I imgaine they were his children and the news was a report on their mother, his wife. Others in the group began to clump up in smaller groups, likely discussing the news which had just been delievered.

After a while, the group slowly began to thin. It was nearing lunch time and “she” was in recovery. But the man in the gold leaf beret remained. Just sitting. Waiting.

I left that day, not knowing what “her” story really was. I am sure, however, from the heaviness in the room, the situation was grave.

I’ve thought about what I witnessed that morning a lot in the last few days. I’ve decided, whether the parts of the story I made up while sitting there watching were right or wrong, one thing is true: People showed up for the woman in surgery. They showed up en masse. And they waited. Whoever she is, she is loved by a great many people. Whatever her story is, whatever becomes of her, she must’ve done something right in this life… something that, when it really mattered, brought all those people into her corner.

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