Mother Tongue

On the way, echoing softly around the corner and down the hallway, I hear it. Maybe I’m imagining it – I’ve only slept four hours in the last two days – but I swear I heard a soft K and delicate L wrap around a guttural H. I could recognize these sounds anywhere.

I have to see someone. Nothing urgent, just a quick check. For the anxious or tired patients, especially those so soon out of surgery, I like to tuck them in at night. It’s a miracle move, probably the greatest secret in medicine, more tangibly impactful than the flowcharts and electronic doctoring that have come to define my training.

I am a building away. I can take the second floor shortcut and be there in a few, but I can’t escape the sound of my mother tongue. I take the right instead, my focus now at odds with my imagination. I realize I have been homesick this whole time and I wonder what or who I will see. Continue reading “Mother Tongue”