This kid is a busy fella. He’s pacing the doctor’s waiting room, straightening magazines. I can’t figure out why, but he’s arranging them into neat stacks, adjusting chairs, too.
He and I are the only ones here. I wish he’d quit fidgeting, he’s making me nervous.
He walks up to me. “Can you scoot your chair back a few inches?” he asks.
“My chair?” The truth is, I’m not in the mood to be scooting. My head is about to pop, my chest feels like it’s been pumped full of industrial-grade hog snot.
“I’m trying to make this row of chairs STRAIGHT,” he says.
“What are you, the janitor?”
No, he’s not. His name is Chris. He’s skinny, black, and about as tall as a possum standing on its hind legs. I scoot my chair backward and he thanks me.
“I like things to be neat,” he’s saying.
This kid would have a field day with my office.
While we’re talking, I can’t hold a cough in any longer. I take a moment to hack up a lung, a rib, and one rusted license plate.
“You’re sick,” Chris says.
“Yep, bronchitis, here to get a shot and some antibiotics.”
“A shot? I HATE shots.”
Wait until you get my age. One day, they quit sticking you in the shoulder and move south.
It turns out, Chris is here with his mother. Her kidneys don’t work. She’s been withering away the past few years. He says she’s lost forty pounds. Treatments aren’t helping. And since you can’t exactly buy kidneys at Winn Dixie, she’s on a long waiting list for a transplant.
According to him, specialists gave her bad news. If they don’t get the organ soon, the worst could happen. Chris says people in their church are praying.
“God can do anything,” he adds—because Chris is too young to be cynical. “God can probably even make YOU feel better.”
He straightens another chair. Then, he sits and hums to himself. His mother finally comes from the back room. He runs to see her. She’s young. Skin and bones. Beautiful, but tired-looking.
The receptionist gives him a piece of candy. Chris smiles the same way he would if someone handed him a Heisman Trophy. With a mouthful of chocolate, he says to me, “I hope you feel better.”
Then waves goodbye.
God, I know it’s been a long time since our last talk. And heaven knows, I’m no saint. I know millions of folks are bending your ear for some important things.
Help that woman find a kidney.