A translator doesn’t want to translate what she’s just been told.

“Lo siento, señora, pero su marido ha muerto.” He didn’t even look up from his clipboard to say it. How could he be so blasé about this? Staring at the chart as if he had something life changing to do. It was as if she was beneath him because she was an outsider. I didn’t move; I couldn’t. The doctor finally lifted his eyes from the ostentatious paperwork he carried and caught my distraught gaze with a look as if to ask what was taking so long. I couldn’t tell her.. I shouldn’t. It’s not my place to say. My place, as the bilingual American refugee shipped to the jungle after her own failed marriage to translate for Belizean doctors and, apparently, deliver the most devastating news of a young woman’s life while the doctor watches without emotion.

In her eyes, I see a part of myself. I remember being married and in love; I remember resting my heart on knowing if my husband was alive or dead. As the wife of a police officer, that was my life.. worrying every single day. I feared the day when the suits would appear on my porch, praising Michael’s duty to his community and thanking me for his service. Even six years sans marriage, that haunts me.

With a long sigh, I turned to the young woman, no more than twenty-five, and recited the doctor’s words verbatim as unfortunately assigned. I was delivering the message no wife should ever hear. Tears welled in my eyes, and I couldn’t help but be fixated on her fluorescent Nikes as to avoid eye contact with the woman who just found out that her new husband had died three days into their honeymoon.


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