A MIRACLE TAKES PLACE at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
A black baby is lying flat on a bed. No, wait, it’s a white baby, but it is darkened, almost a shade of purple, as if fully bruised, punched and pinched by a thousand and one hands. Red eyes look at it through tears. Five people plus the dead kid are in a very white room that smells impossibly clean. The mother is also lying down, in a different bed, still trying to realize what to do with the miracle of giving birth — and with the tragedy of loosing her son after less than seven minutes of life.
Everyone, even the air, is still in the room. The elder person there is a woman so small she is just twice as big as the children. She is the first to move more than her eyelids, after the doctor looked at his watched over the baby lying flat in the bed, said “Seven hours and thirty three minutes” out loud and started heading for the door. She trusts against the body. She presses it with hands that are more calluses than skin. She drops her weight, that is more bone than fat, over the unfairly small chest of it. She kisses it with the absence of teeth and lips that form her mouth.
Then it becomes a he. A yell. The kid yells with his own voice, not through the voices that wept him. The kid gasps for air, it’s lung lunch time. The tears that run in every face, but the doctors, don’t stop. They just change of type. Now everyone in that room has seen a grown man cry --and the father walks away from the miracle, as if the air inside the room had hands and was holding a knife. The mother starts to cry a very silent cry that will make a change of pillows required. Her small noises overcome by a stampede of the doctor and the nurse that cover the baby with more arms than an Indian goddess.
A cloak of beauty falls over the room. The ugly world is dressed for the Oscars tonight. All is possible in Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. The same doctor that had pronounced the kid dead would have said medicine is not an exact science, and the boy was margin of error, was anyone ever to ask what happened there. But no one will ever ask. The grandmother will say it was God acting, believing deep inside she was the only one who could have done it, because God watches for all of us, but only reaches to a few. The mother will say nothing, but hold on to that moment forever, a valuable thing she carries in her pocket and does not want to touch often, so terrified she is of not finding it there. Her small miracle.
Every time the five people who were in the room access that moment, a snake of adrenaline will run through their blood and remind them that death is real. And is coming. But not tonight.
Tonight the yell was born.
The miracle child will be portrayed smiling in the front page of the Queens Ledger. There will be shouts of joy that won’t wake him up in his first night home. The night of a second, minor, miracle: the one bedroom apartment will become a penthouse and the beer will inebriate all of the family and friends three times more of what it usually does. It will make men dance, while the baby is lying down, pink.
But the yell will never cease.
The child will be portrayed once again, this time not in the front page and not as a miracle. The New York Post will publish a picture of him at 18, accused of sexually abusing a brain dead child. No one will remember him as the miracle child, and he will go to jail, never to see the light again. Slowly turning from white to purple again.