Op Note I
They rushed him in, the child who’d been shot. There was no time for the usual banter. We identified him as a boy, maybe 11, a Johnny Doe, a person with parents who didn’t yet know, a school bag splayed across the street, a history of previous laughter. While someone removed his bloody shoes and stripped him of his corduroys, another splashed betadine across his belly and chest. Amidst the chaos and clamor there was silence inside the boy and we were anxious to find out why. So we cut him open only to find his grown up self. He had it all figured out; what to do the rest of the way and when. What he was going to say at the right time to this miracle of a woman he never would believe he deserved. He had it all worked out. Please doc, just give me that chance to choose, he said. But we were very busy. We pretended we couldn’t hear a thing he said even though we got the gist. He was in the way. We knew it couldn’t be. We had work to do and we did what we could. We did our work. Please doc, he said. But it couldn’t have been. We were just imagining things now. It takes a boy to become a man. It was time to whip-stitch our futile gash closed. There would be no great love. No decisions to be made, no paths to choose. A sarcophagus closes like the period at the end of a sentence. Breathless wordless empty pages that you keep flipping and flipping and flipping, hoping to find the thread, another word, at least, a scratching of ink against empty page, until the OR became a white-out blizzard of blanketing silence.