Saturday, August 07, 2010

We are Healers, Ruth

The house was still, cold and silent. The only light came from the single candle carried down the long hall and into the room at the heart of the house.

Anna Goldberg sat and placed the candle before her on a long, wooden table. The candle's light served more to deepen the darkness around her than brighten the room in which she sat.

Her breath misted the air and her voice, rusted from lack of use, barely sounded.

"I understand, Ruth, why you felt you needed to go." Anna paused, clearing her throat. "You may not believe me, but I do understand. For I was like you with my own mother."

Anna looked deeper into the light of the candle, her eyes becoming unfocused as she looked back through time.

"We are healers, Ruth, you know that now. You've always known it." She shook her head sadly.

"I know how hard it is to accept what cannot be seen, touched, proven. But now, in the years to come, you will learn." Anna placed her hands flat on the table before her. "As I learned with you."

She stopped speaking and silence again filled the house. The candlelight shone on her silver hair and glinted in her deep, dark eyes.

Outside the circle of light shadows moved, almost forming the shapes of all the women of the Goldberg line.


Half a world away Dr. Ruth Goldberg lay sweating, her face twisted in a grimace as another contraction swept through her.

Nurse Janna squeezed her hand in support.

"Dr. Goldberg, I've seen the miracles you perform in the surgery. But this, this is the true miracle of life."

Ruth shook her head fiercely. "No," she said. "That's just training and good luck. And this--" she paused for breath, "--this is just biology."

Her doctor looked up at her. "You're doing great, Ruth," she said. "Almost there, the baby's crowned."

She smiled. "One more good push and you'll be there."

Ruth grunted as another contraction came.

"Now," said her doctor. And Ruth pushed. The baby slid from her body into the doctor's waiting hands.

"Congratulations, Ruth. It's a baby girl!"


Anna smiled as she lit a second candle.

"Of course it is."


  1. This is lovely, and a little creepy.
    "the circle of light shadows moved, almost forming the shapes of all the women of the Goldberg line." - love this, and it's the "almost" that really makes it, I think.

    A detail I really liked - "her voice, rusted from lack of use, barely sounded."

  2. Beautiful details in this.
    This line - "But now, in the years to come, you will learn." Anna placed her hands flat on the table before her. "As I learned with you." - makes me wonder what trials Ruth will go through that finally convince her that it's not training and luck.

    The prophetic and paranormal tone to this is excellent.

  3. @Mazzz I like "a little creepy" - because that's how the story felt to me. I'm glad I got some of that down on the page, so to speak.

    @Laura Glad you enjoyed the tone. Thanks to you both for the comments.

  4. I love how the connection between the three generations (and more) of Goldberg women is protrayed here. Yes, a little eerie, but I believe in those connections (and enjoyed one as a child with my own Nana).

    Wonderful details here -- super story. Peace...

  5. Another wonderful, delightful tale, Mr. Mackey. You really do have a way of writing women. And the connection through all he women of this bloodline is amazing and excellent. Lovely tale.

  6. Nice balance of the old with the new, a touch of ghostly old world moors mixed with a modern hospital, all linked via a psychic vibe. Anna's setting was reminiscent of Wuthering Heights to me. That, juxtaposed with Ruth's modern medical facility, was really neat.

    I really liked how the candle, rather than lighting the room, only served to make the room darker beyond it's glow. That was terrific.

  7. @Linda Glad you enjoyed the details in this - and, eerie is good, no?

    @Gracie Thanks for the comment. As to a way of writing women, thank you for the compliment.

    @Jon Yes, I also liked the balance and contrast between old and new. I'm convinced they coexist far more than we believe.

  8. Beautiful. With all of these pieces, I feel the cyclical nature of life so lovingly rendered. It is a bit creepy and supernatural but life, especially childbirth, is creepy and supernatural. Life is larger and more mystical than we give it credit for and I think you touch on that here. Very well done.

  9. Beautiful work Kevin. Very felt. Strange but deep and consistent.