4: cleft thoughts

I was sitting on the L at 14th, waiting for the train to start on its destination. I looked to my right: an old man reading the paper. To my left: empty seats, and further down a baby in a stroller facing his mother.

His mom’s head bobbed as she dozed off. Soon he kicked, and her head came up straight again. When he cooed I wanted to hug him. When he turned and smiled at me, I saw his cleft lip. He was still adorable, and when he showed all his teeth, he reminded me of my favorite junk food of my youth: ring-shaped cheesy poofs with four little protrusions at the front. Picture 1They tasted really good.

I wondered whether his gums got cold when the wind blew. I thought of him in his smile, oblivious, and wondered at what point the feelings of hopelessness and self-loathing would afflict him. A curse, he’ll call it then, as he will read it in his mother’s eyes.

But does God really give us curses? A curse yes, because it makes life difficult, and it makes you wonder why He’d get the idea of doing that. But is it also an opportunity? A key to gaining greater depth of character, greater compassion, greater understanding…a stepping stone, a tool itself that will enable this kid to understand and help others? Most spoiled, beautiful children don’t get that chance, the poor things.

The train still sighed and sputtered. In the bright white light, the baby cooed and smiled at me again.

Does God hand out curses? I thought again then. We both waited.

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About tali2

I am a recent grad of the wonderful English major. Though I don't regret studying English one bit, I realize why my teachers, parents, friends, and imaginary mentors warned me against it: Because it leads you nowhere. But it did give me great writing skills which I hope to continue honing in this blog as I chronicle the tribulations of the terrible job hunt in the terrible job market of NYC. And I hope that my blog reminds fellow unemployed recent grads that you are not alone, inspires some hope within us, while presenting a snapshot of our lives to others who do not share the same self-imposed troubles.
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3 Responses to 4: cleft thoughts

  1. Happy_Clefty says:

    The little cleft lip baby may never believe it’s a curse. I was born with a cleft lip and palate. I’m fifteen – supposedly one of those pesky “teenagers” always over-dramatizing life, “life’s not fair” and “you ruined my life” and all that jazz, right? So you’d think, if there were EVER an age where you’d believe it to be a curse, it would be now, right?

    Nope. I’m facing surgery within a year – they’re going to break my jaw and put it back together. And, honestly, I think my life ROCKS right now. I am so blessed and I have such good friends and live in such a good world…my life is amazing.

    The cleft lip? It’s a gift. There is no genetic or environmental reason behind it – I was pregnancy #1 for my mom, so she was sooooooo careful it’s not even funny. And NOBODY in my family had a cleft lip, unless it’s super far back.
    So I believe, if there’s no medical reason, it’s just there because, well – God needed it there. It was just – part of His plan.

  2. Happy_Clefty says:

    By the way, I loved this:

    “A curse yes, because it makes life difficult, and it makes you wonder why He’d get the idea of doing that. But is it also an opportunity? A key to gaining greater depth of character, greater compassion, greater understanding…a stepping stone, a tool itself that will enable this kid to understand and help others? Most spoiled, beautiful children don’t get that chance, the poor things.”

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