SeptReflectionsScreen2If I had known how much anguish it would lead to, I might have been tempted not to answer my pager when it went off on that quiet Sunday morning in May. Instead, I innocently dialed the number.

“Cafeteria,” said the voice that answered.

“Hi, this is the nursing manager. Did you page me?”

“We need you right away. A child’s alone down here.”

In the cafeteria I approached the bevy of workers huddled by the phone. “The little girl’s over there,” one of them said, pointing.

A small child was sitting quietly at a table halfway down the room. She had a round face and light brown hair pulled back with a pink barrette, soft curls falling below her ears.

Read the full Reflections essay from the August issue here. As author Joan Greland-Goldstein concludes, “Gina must be in her 20s today, but I still see her as the little girl sitting quietly at the cafeteria table waiting for someone to come back to her.” May “Gina” someday find that someone.

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