Monday, December 5, 2016

A Coin

gold and shiny
left on the deli counter
next to the tip jar
by an unknown customer
during a lunch rush
with one particularly frustrated
young lady
an unhappy customer who felt neglected
as I struggled
to get a cookie out of a jar with plastic tongs
to spoon salads to go from the case
to make change from the register
to take care of the long line
behind her

a religious coin, a guardian angel
I kept it in my pocket for a few days

it fell out in the car
on our way to my first neurologist appointment

Jackie sat to my left
the doctor stood right in front of me
I sat on the end of the patient’s table
my naked legs dangling

the doctor looked at my legs
and said to Jackie, do you see that?
yes I see, Jackie said
my muscles twitching uncontrollably
me completely unaware

The doctor blurted,
Mark, you have ALS
I stared at him then looked at Jackie
her entire body shaking
that’s it?!, she said, you’re just going to tell us that –
it can’t be anything else?

he had a list of neurological disorders on the computer behind him
and ruled them out
one by one

when it hit me, I got off the table
sat next to Jackie, fell into her arms and bawled,
Lou Gehrig, he played every game without a day off for 15 years straight
and then he got this

we left the office in shock
went to separate bathrooms down the hospital hall
I leaned on a wall and waited
when Jackie appeared we broke down
got it together and left

a few days later, without looking for it
I found the coin in the car between the seat and the door
it sits on a bookcase in my bedroom

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mark, This is the 2nd time I have read this today and I have tears streaming down my face. Every word made me feel like I was right there and allowed me inside a world of of people I love very much....Thank you for allowing me in. xo