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|Life, Death, Madness - Page 3|
As I step outside the ED entrance and greet the murmuring crowd of relatives and friends, all eyes fasten on me. Seconds slow and divide. I know that the next words I speak will turn their world.
"I'm social work," I say, using the hospital vernacular. "Cyrus is still with us. I just saw the doctors working on him. They're giving it everything they have."
I hear a collective exhalation of breath. He's alive.
"Does Cyrus have parents here? A partner? The doctors would like them to come inside." I pause. "I'm sorry. This must be awful for all of you."
A girlfriend and an ex-wife emerge from the night crowd, hand in hand. They point beneath a street light across the lot to Cyrus's mother, Claudia. She's pacing, alone, her voice piercing the night. "It didn't have to happen! You save my boy! I told the cops to watch them people! How many times I call them?"
A cousin and grandmother approach, arm in arm, looking beleaguered. "Please, sir," says the grandmother gravely. "We have to be with Cyrus. We need to pray over him."
"I'm so sorry, ma'am. I can't let you in." I'm a bouncer, a traffic cop of grief and shock. In self-defense, I feel myself turning to stone.