This isn’t a sequel to An Eight-Year-Old’s Philosophy, it’s just an addition. You don’t need to have read it to understand this, at any rate.
In the waiting room, there are many adults, but only one child. As the ceiling light flickers and buzzes erratically, her small, wide eyes are drawn upwards in curiosity. The adults look across to her from time to time, some anxious, others irritated. Her thin legs swing whimsically as she watches and waits. Her olive skin is marred with a streak of dirt and while her pendulum legs swing, she picks at the brown underneath her fingernails.
Soon, a doctor comes, his footsteps clattering quickly on the linoleum. This has an effect on every person who waits. They sit up, hopeful, nervous, some expecting the worst. The girl’s legs stop swinging and she clasps her hands tightly. All eyes are on the unshaven man as he clears his throat. He does not utter a name, simply nods to the girl and she shuffles over to him quickly, unaware of the eyes that follow her. He takes her a few steps into the corridor, then bends down to talk to her. Her eyes cannot stay in the same place for long. They skip and dart to corners and facets of the room, taking in colour and shape as well as sound. The doctor barks a command and her attention snaps back to the one place. As he continues to talk, her hands begin to tear at the hem of her jumper, seeking out loose threads and pulling distractedly. It is a destructive act.
The adults are watching intently, their eyes unblinking. They lean over in their seats to watch the scene – the too-large, bulky doctor squatting to convey his message to the tiny, distracted girl. And then, the news is broken. Those small, wide eyes blink and, for the first time, meet those of the doctor. Her hands stop pulling at her jumper. The adults outside watch as the first tears slide down her cheeks and are wiped away by small, shaking hands. The doctor’s heavy hand lands on her shoulder in an oversized gesture of comfort, but the girl pushes it away quickly. Her hands clench into fists and she stamps her foot. Her voice rises out of her small chest, surprisingly loud. She demands things of the doctor, yet he shakes his head, speaking from that script that all doctors know.
“There’s nothing I can do.”
The girl begins to wail. The sound is like an alarm and the adults look up collectively, their eyes wide and staring. Alarms are common here, yet this one makes them shudder more than any. It is a sound of desperation, of raw emotion and grief. It is the alarm heralding the journey of a small child into adulthood, at too young an age.
But in Sarajevo, she is lucky. Her friend never made it into adulthood.