Probation officer #9

Ana said, “Well, it’s…” After a minute, maybe longer, she said, “It’s.”

I said, “Ana? It’s … what?”

And that was that. She made a honking noise and the tears welled and spilled freely down her face. She closed her eyes so tight it seemed to screw up her entire face, and she opened her mouth wide and wailed like a baby. 

I said, “Um,” and then, “um, Ana, hey…” 

Tears on my shirt

Tears in my shirt

So Ana turned around, still blind, and banged her head into my chest. Her tears kept coming, soaking through my shirt onto my skin. I’d already been as unprofessional as I could manage, so it was a bit late to be worried about the rules on touching my clients. I put my arm around her shoulders and rocked her gently. I said, “oh now, oh now, it’s okay to cry, you’re all right, you’re okay, oh now.”

And so on. Things you might say to a baby, where the words don’t really matter. I had no idea what to do. I’d started out being incredibly stupid. With Ana chastely wetting my shirt, I was none the wiser.

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