Everyday is a war of attrition. Everyday a small part of you dies.
You spend little enough time reflecting on your thorny memories, deep inside there are beautiful blooms of rose red and yellow, pink and night. Instead you force yourself to live in the present, where you can still feel the pain, but it is at least shorter, and has an end.
Bubbles and songs are your weapons. The kids tend to like the bubbles; their tear filled eyes often lock on in wonder as they float to the floor and burst in a translucent spray. Sometimes they will laugh at your songs, their minds taken away from their predicament as a nurse scans an ultrasound wand over their chest.
Most times, it's good news. The kids cry, they hem and haw in discomfort. Their parents would rather be anywhere else, someplace where nothing can hurt their children. But in the end, the news is good, their hearts are normal, everything is in its proper place, working as it should.
These patients are the easier ones.
The harder ones are not okay. As the doctor delivers the verdict you play with the children. You fold balloon animals over the sobs of their mothers, or perform a magic trick as their father asks pointed questions in a low, desperate, needful voice. It's your job to entertain, to help the kids relax as they are plugged into monitors, drilled through tests.
The job offers little reward, because in the end, you can't heal them.
The job offers little.
The job offers.
The only thing left.
Is a forced smile.