There are several phrases I could go through the rest of my life without hearing. The first that instantly springs to mind is, “The dog ate a 2 pound bag of pitted prunes.” The other is, “your sister has been taken to the hospital.”
In August 1997, my family was out in Spokane, WA for the Subud World Congress. I was a counselor in the childcare program, and my sister was 15 and in the high school group. We were spending the day at an amusement park (although I can’t imagine that it was a very good one, being that Spokane is not a very big place), and I was with my group of 8 kids, ranging in age from 6 to 10. We were standing in line for some ride, when a friend of my sister’s came running up to tell me that she had been taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
It turns out that what had happened was that while walking through a spring-mounted gate, her foot had gotten caught near the hinge. It had ripped her big toe nail almost entirely off, and she needed to have it stitched back into place, so that her toe nail would know how to continue to grow in the future. There weren’t any adults with cars to spare, so the ambulance had been called. She was the most notorious person at the Congress for about a day and a half after.
The last couple of times I’ve talked to my mom, I’ve asked her, “hey, have your heard from Rain?” We’ve both been on the edges of our seats, waiting to hear what’s going on with her and the boy who continues to pledge his undying love. Today when I called, before I could even ask how Raina was, my mom said the phrase I’ve now heard twice to many times in my life. “Your sister was taken to the hospital.” It turns out that she got the stomach flu while camping out at the Kerrville Folk Festival, had been lying sick in her tent in 96 degree weather and got really dehydrated. Thankfully, she’s now at a friend’s apartment in Lubbock, TX, recouperating in the air conditioning.
I’m deeply relieved to know that she’s okay (although since I didn’t learn she was sick until I also was told that she was recovering, I didn’t get a chance to worry too much). Now I’m just hoping that I will get through the rest of my life, never having to hear that phrase again.