The tears of the world are a constant quantity.—Samuel Beckett, Waiting For Godot
I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of the throat and I’d cry for a week. ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Jesus wept.—John 11:35
She is in her late fifties and he just turned 60. They live in a little country town, not far from me. We met, as I helped them prepare their tax return.
I got to the part in the form about their healthcare. He’s disabled, after working a lifetime at the kind of jobs that would have broken me forty years ago, much less now. She works in retail, at one of those stores that sells everything for a dollar.
I looked over their paperwork and smiled: “Great news. You both have health care coverage.” I was about to compliment her for getting the right plan for $46 dollars a month after the federal subsidy. She made a whimpering sound and I swung around in my chair. Tears were rolling down her face.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s just that I keep hearing on the news where they are going to take away my insurance. I’m on the kidney transplant list and when they do that, I’m going to die. I don’t have any way to pay thousands of dollars for a new kidney. Why do they want to take away my insurance?” She dabbed at her eyes. “I’m sorry. Go on. Let’s get this over with.”
I had no answers for her. I touched her arm. “I’m sorry, too.”
He spoke quietly. “I’ve been telling her that God will take care of us. We’ve been through so much these past few years, with my accident and now her kidney gone.” He put his arm around her. “It’s going to be okay, baby.” She nodded.
We finished up a few minutes later. They would be getting a refund of $400. They smiled and thanked me.
After they left, I went back to my desk and cried.