Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rising To The Surface

I'm looking at a reflection of myself in the change room mirror when I hear the click of a change room door across the way.

"Mom, how do I lock the door?"

Her mom tells her and then the little girl wonders aloud how to open the door when she's done. After being reassured that she'll be able to unlock the door the little girl gets on with the business of trying on clothes.

I twirl a bit in the royal blue dress I've tried on as I'm transported back to being six years old. A nurse ushers me into a change room to get into a gown before they take x rays of my broken arm. It's  broken high up on my arm and I'm still in pain from having to change into an appropriate going-to-the-hospital shirt before getting into the car to make the journey. A red shirt. I still remember the pain and confusion as to how I was going to change without help and without it hurting even more. I wanted an adult to help me but no one offered and I was scared to ask.

The nurse tells me to come out when I'm ready except that I can't figure out how to get out of the cubicle. It takes little for me to think I've done something wrong, am in trouble for not finding my way. When the nurse eventually comes back to check on me, she opens the door and laughs at the fear etched in my face.  The x ray table is cold and shiny. Soon my arm is wrapped in a sling, broken too high up for a cast.

Put me in a hospital change room today and a little of that fear rises to the surface even though there are no doors, just curtains, now.

All this goes through my mind as I listen to the mom and daughter talk about separating out the armful of  hopeful clothes into piles of yes, no and maybe. They chit chat back and forth as I change back into my clothes.

I gather all my tried on clothes into a no pile and open the door to my change room. I come face to face with the little girl's mom. I want to thank her for being such a safe mom that her daughter can ask such an innocent question without fear. How overhearing their conversation reminds me that my story is not everyone's story. I know there would be no quick way to explain my comment so instead we smile at each other and go our separate ways.


Mary Christine said...

I can so relate to this. Glad you don't have to have that kind of fear today and that you can see others react so differently.

Peter said...

I really like the way you learn so quickly from your experiences. Colour me envious...

luluberoo said...

I hear mothers and children every day--some loving and affirming. Others cold and hurtful. I bet you are like me and wonder what happens to those who don't get the love they need (or deserve).

Tender post.