I settle myself onto the brick wall for my coffee break. It's hard and a little too tall for me to get comfortable, but it feels good to be off my feet. I've been selling coffee and bagels since 6am. There are comfy chairs in the lobby and little cafe tables as well. But I don't feel right taking them up. There are people here with sick babies. They shouldn't have to hunt around for a good spot to rest. Besides, I like it here where I can see the whirly-gig. Someone told me it's really a kinetic sculpture or something like that, but I just call it the whirly-gig.
I don't watch the machine so much anymore. I've seen it so many times I have it memorized. I watch the kids who watch it. Some of them are real sick―their hair is falling out and they look too skinny. Some of them have big casts or bandages. But there is something about that whirly-gig. It makes them forget for a little while. They forget to be scared. They forget they're sick or injured. They forget they're in a hospital. They're just kids with their eyes wide open to watch the pool balls go up the little elevators and race down the ramps. They listen to the chimes clang and they giggle and cheer. Sometimes they pick their favorite color ball and follow its journey around the whirly-gig.
Sometimes I watch the parents too. They have too much on their minds to watch the whirly-gig. They have doctor's appointments to keep and prescriptions to fill and bills to pay. They stop in my shop and buy a coffee for themselves and a treat for their kid. The lucky ones stop for a while and sit in those comfy chairs and cafe tables and watch their kids. For a while they forget about what brought them to Children's. They smile and watch their children watching the whirly-gig.
This is in response to two prompts this week. The folks at Trifecta gave us the word “lucky” to write about this week. Write on Edge gave us the word “wonder” and a video of a kinetic sculpture from Boston's Musem of Science called Archimedean Excogitation, by George Rhoads. We're fortunate enough to visit that museum pretty regularly and that exhibit is one of my sons' favorite things at the museum. When they watch it, I cannot help but think of another Rhoads piece that is in the center of Boston Children's Hospital. My son James had hand surgery a couple of summers ago and the sculpture provided a very welcome distraction for us.