Sunday, 22 March 2009

A memory

Back when my brother broke his leg - I think he was about 9 or 10, so I'd have been 19 or 20 - we went to fetch him from the hospital and bring him home. I must have been back in Cape Town for a short while between my in-service training and completing my studies, so I wasn't entirely clear on what had happened - I just went along for the ride.

When we got to the Red Cross Children's Hospital, we went through some pretty gardens round the side to get to my brother. While we were waiting for him to be discharged, I wandered into the rest of the children's wards. One little tot, who couldn't have been more than a year and a half, started screaming and holding out her tiny arms to me. The nurse said I looked like her mother, who hadn't been to see her yet. The baby had pulled a TV down on herself and was one big mass of bruises.

I lifted her out of her cot - carefully, as she was connected to so many wires and cables and tubes it was scary - and sat with her in my lap for 20 minutes, stroking her soft black hair and feeling her little body cuddling itself to me. It was one of the hardest things ever, putting her back in that crib, listening to her scream and feeling her try to hang on to me.

I hope her mother finally came to visit. I hope someone else brought her the love she needed.

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