I sat in a waiting room today. You have probably never been there. I’ve been there a hundred times. This one was in Sandy Springs, a suburb of Atlanta. It looked a little too nice- in a business office high rise. But then I remembered the one with folding chairs where they buzzed you in and checked your shoes for razor blades and your pants for drawstrings, I remember that I’m thankful that this place is clean and the woman behind the counter has a smile. The one in San Diego was a lot busier than this one. This eating disorder treatment center is a day program. My baby feels relaxed. No risk of being ushered to the back hallways to a sterile bed. She drove us here. She made the appointment. She strives to recover. She lives to see the light of days without disease. I wait a long time. A girl arrives in over sized clothes that the formerly emaciated wear. Her smile is divine and I divert my eyes to offer privacy. Not everyone wants to be known here. “Do we have the same phone case?” She asks. We hold ours up in cheers position. I comment on the purple and how one of my girls gave it to me. She says purple is her favorite color. She pauses. “Well, Sunset Purple.” And she is called back for her appointment. I feel the similarity between her sensitivity and mine and the other people seated in unfortunate upholstery, who I have met in these holy waiting rooms. I love her. I want to follow her back to the rooms where the answers are. Where the seeking of truth through a devilish disease is pursued like walking on nails or coals of fire. I’m so lucky to know these people. The humans who live in the face of fear and death and come out talking about colors and sunsets. People who suffer on the outside. No masks are left because masks are for those who insist they are sane. In here, sanity is not a necessity. No one insists on pretenses.
This piece was written in 2018.