The doctor fainted

By Jing Villamil

SHE tells this story as eloquently as a poet would!

She is a physician, freshly graduated and last year’s board-passer. To pay back her state scholarship, she is on her first of five years as doctor to the barrios. Frail and pale and pretty with Annie’s unruly curly brown hair, she goes home to a rented two-storey house with white walls, wide windows, blue doors, porches front and back, an open rooftop to greet the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars.

To the neighborhood kids, it is a cake of a house from which wafts yummy smells to tease the nose and the palate! Soon after she takes off the white coat and the stethoscope, she puts on red-checkered baking apron and rolled and pound dough. It was a rolling and a pounding off, too, of the ignorance and disease she gets to encounter every day!

The natives had never lived close-up with a girl like her before, so kind yet so fiercely determined! Their kids call her “our friendly village witch”! They bring to her their bruises and wounds, their little pains and their hurting hearts. And, sometimes, their skin pinched and behinds whacked too hard. And not to be left behind, their growling stomachs! She would treat their ills and hug them tight and feed them full. Then she would let them play with the toys she bought for them, or gathered  from family and friends. When they go home, it is with toothy grins and love for her bright in their eyes.

But, one day, this child runs to her with this little bit.

DOC:  Oh dear child, why do you run to me arms flung wide? Wipe your tears streaming down your plump flushed cheeks. I taste salt, the sweat of summer rain. I wait for your sobs to stop that I might hear your story just begging to be told. What gall, which bitter sorrow wrought such storm into your sweet young life? (I told you, she talks like a poet would.)

The child raises her head, arms still wrapped tight round the doc’s tiny waist.

CHILD: Last week I bit the thumb off my classmate’s hand. He bullied me so! I hid the thumb so well, it is hidden still. Then she gags. From her plump flushed cheeks she spews out the thumb, a gray rotten digit, on the doc’s shirtfront! Then, she throws up yet again, on the doc’s shirtfront. After which she falls to her back, wails hard and hoarse, her arms and legs flailing wild!

DOC: Oh no, oh yak! Child, what sharp teeth you have! (. . . is all the doc could manage to say. She fainted)

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