In my head
Even when I'm smiling, I complain
"How are you?"
"How are your classes?"
"How has your day been?"
I go to work. Joe tells me I have to wheel a patient to her car in the yellow parking lot. She's a new mom.
When I get to the room, she asks if she can have a minute. I say Fine
I look at the baby in the new dad's arms
"Is it a girl or boy?"(safe, I don't want to make a mistake and say the wrong thing. No one does anymore)
"Girl" (you can tell he's smiling when he says it)
"Oh, I thought so"
"My little girl"
The earth stops. He cries a little. Kisses her forehead. He's not fine, he's better.
When time starts again with a jerk, I ask more safe questions. "Did you know it was going to be a girl?", "Are you happy to be going home". But then I leave to drop something off at the nurse's station. I don't have to, but the incredible aura around him, such strong peace and love, is too strong for me to stand. I'm used to being miserable about all the work and stress and failure of my own personal problems. But just then, when he acknowledged his love for her in front of me, a stranger, I remembered what it felt like to really smile. To smile and mean it. To be a good listener without any noise. I'll remember that little girl forever, how she changed that man by just being alive. And, at least for a little while, I'll stop being fine. Because some things are great ya know.