CREDOS : Destiny’s child — II

Alex lays her on the bed and begins removing the heavy padded suit. It is dirty, and it smells musty. She is still crying as Alex removes each article and throws them in a heap next to the bed.

As each layer comes off, it becomes increasingly clear how small this baby is, how tiny. She is so skinny, her arms and legs spindly and undeveloped. Alex begins looking her over, takes off her diaper, turns her onto her stomach. She smells; a close damp odor rises from the bed. Across her shoulders and back is a red rash, and tiny scars.

The baby lies quietly on the bed in front of us, not crying now, and looks back at us with an

expression of grief and resignation. Time stops as the three of us attempt to absorb our new realities.

In the transparency of this moment, Alex’s feelings vibrate across our silence. They do not feel like love, or compassion.

They feel like disgust, and I can sense her judgment of this child as she fails to reach out to touch or comfort her, the naked, vulnerable child upon the bed. What happens when one is suddenly confronted with the sick, the neglected, the dirty? Either the heart opens, or it slams shut against the assault.

Is this a choice, or a reaction born of a million prior choices? What happens when love does not come? What happens when it does, so unexpectedly that it takes your breath away, and leaves you with a heart that aches, and longs for justice? — (Concluded)