A Sick Kids Face Is Haunting Me

Posted: March 23, 2009 in The Roper Files

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Look over there again and then turn away. Augh; there it is again. Don’t look; it’s too disturbing.
What am I avoiding? I’m avoiding confronting my emotions, that’s what.
Someone has a calendar facing where I work. No big deal; just a calendar, right?
Well it has a child’s face on it; according to the text under the picture he’s a patient at some children’s hospital.

He’s holding a teddy bear tightly to his chest and looking into an aquarium. He’s almost nose-to-nose with a fish with only a thin piece of glass between them. The big eyes on this kid and his cherubic smile are searing an indelible image into my brain that burns like an inextinguishable flame.
I can’t get this image out of my mind no matter how tightly I close my eyes. How can an ill child be this happy?

Now don’t get me wrong; I am not what I consider an emotional guy. When those commercials come on TV featuring starving kids from faraway countries, yes I DO pick up that remote. I don’t want to look at depressing shit; I have enough day-to-day problems with depression. Just don’t need any more downer input to compound it.

So what is it about this particular little boy’s face that I find so compelling? Good question.
Maybe he reminds me of myself when I was a little boy. Perhaps he makes me yearn for a time when the simple act of holding a teddy bear could solve the majority of my problems.
I don’t know this kids name; I don’t know his family. Don’t know where they live.
Are they rich? Are they poor? Knowing health care in America… they’re probably poor now. Are his parents off-camera crying their eyes out not knowing where the money for their sons medical care is going to come from?

Don’t ask me why but I want to do something for this kid. Something, anything to make his last days as pleasant as possible. Take him to a movie. Buy him a chocolate malt. Go for a walk with him on a beach. Hug him and make him feel loved.
But I can’t. He might have already passed away since this calendar was printed….and then I just feel helpless.
So as I go about my business at work I find myself going to lengths to NOT look in the direction of that damn calendar. Don’t want to look into that little boy’s face.

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Maybe I’ll feel better next month when somebody flips the picture on that calendar to something else.

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