Observations from Room 1975

Ingrid Acosta

It had been a productive and all-together grueling Wednesday, with Marck holed up in his office for the entire day. His research was now yielding substantive results, and he wasted no time in updating his mentor about it.

A quick glance to the clock at his left showed that it was 6. The sun had hardly began to set, yet here he was, entertaining thoughts of going home. His workaholic nature forbade him from leaving earlier than 10pm, but for today perhaps he could make an exception. After sweeping his eyes one final time around the room, he draped his white coat on the chair and stepped out. Brisk steps echoed across the hallway.


He knew he shouldn’t be here. If ever someone saw him, Marck cringed at the thought. Dr. Santiago, his mentor, viewed himself as a traditionalist; diligence and work ethics ranked high in his books. If word got to him that his favorite student was spending more time with the participants than necessary, Marck could kiss that study grant goodbye. He sighed. Now wasn’t really the time to be thinking about such matters.

“Good evening, doctor.” Julie smiled at him from behind the nurses’ station. “Here to see the children again I suppose?” She pushed the logbook towards him.

He nodded, and scribbled down his name. “How are Ghing and Carlos?”

“Excited. They‘ve been waiting to see you since this morning. After all, you’re practically the only one who comes by.”

He allowed a smile to grace his features, his hand alighting on top of the doorknob.

“Just doing my job, Julie.”


The kids were enthusiastic as always, entertaining him on how their day went. Ghing recounted the adventures of Captain Ahab while Carlos showed them a sketch of the Eiffel tower against a backdrop of a starry night sky.

“So, when are you gonna show us whatever it is that you’re working on?” quipped the lad.

Marck looked up, in time to see the elder sibling swat her brother’s arm.

“Dummy! He can’t show us his research until he’s done with it.”

“But when will that be? He’s been working on it since forever!”

The squabbling of the two was lost to him, as the nurse’s parting words kept on looping in his head.

“Oh, and Dr. Santiago,” Julie called out, “your father was just here this afternoon.”

Confusion flashed in his eyes. Why was his father here? It’s certainly not to visit the two...

She must have noticed the sudden slump of his shoulders. “Dr. Santiago, are you alright?”

Marck nodded, but ended up gripping the doorknob with more force than intended. “Thank you Julie.” With that, he stepped into the children’s room, and shut the door.

He wondered in vain if there was a way out of this predicament.