Tuesday, June 01, 2004


I walked into the hospital, through the automatic doors, visiting my sister, Aliza, and her newborn baby daughter. While entering the maze of sanitary hallways with their heaping piles of uncomfortable silences, I realized that I had not been in a hospital since my father passed away last year. Moments after basking in my celebratory jubilance, my mood suddenly transformed into a heavy weariness as if the hospital was a friend that I once trusted but had nevertheless still let me down. The vivid imagery of last year's experience made me aware of all the pain and suffering that went on in this building while paradoxically, I also imagined all the happiness that went on the opposing floors. After all, I had been there for latter, not the former.

Though, my mind was finding a very hard time grasping with this concept--I was standing in
a place where life both began and ended.

I took the elevator to the fourth floor and wandered through the maternity ward looking for a nurse. After finding out where my sister was staying, I walked into her room to find her waiting for me. My niece, on the other hand, was not. I stood over her while she slept in her plastic crib/incubator, observing her unhampered innocence. Her precious smallness. My father would've cried as he held his first grandchild princess in his arms.

"She's cute, isn't she?" Aliza asked.
"Absolutely," I said. I always thought that babies looked closer to aliens or reptiles in their first two months. They only bloomed into their cuteness therein after that. But this little girl (if she could qualify yet as a girl) broke my heart in a way that most girls could never accomplish; into a surging awakening, not a painful collapse.

"Hi, little girl," I said. She would not have a formal baby naming for another few days. Until then, she would have to be "little girl." It's unfortunate, I thought, that she will never know her grandfather, my father. He would have spoiled her a great deal, as he had done for me.

She woke up and opened her ocean-sized eyes. She looked at me with a non-judgemental stare as I secured my arms in a tight cradle-like embrace. I would only stay there for a few minutes longer. The haunting echoes of my memories made this building an uncomfortable experience.

Moments later, I put the baby down with a kiss and left my sister and my niece to rest. I went to the parking lot to retrieve my car, trying to leave the bitterweet sentiments lingering behind.


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