"Doctor Robbins will see you now."
"She will?" Sofia noticed the small chuckle from the receptionist that, now somehow, felt like a friend. "Umm…I mean…Thank you."
"You're welcome." She couldn't help but be excited for the young girl. "Since she hasn't seen you before, she'll see you in her office first. She's in the third office on the left, around the corner."
Sofia stood there for a moment. First, because her feet just wouldn't move and secondly because she wanted to make sure that she gave nothing away until it was time. "Thank you." Sofia softly said one last time as she walked down the long hall and around the corner. She then immediately saw the offices that lined the hallway. One….two…...there it was. She was just feet from Arizona's office. All of a sudden, she couldn't breathe. She had seen Lexie have such a hard time breathing sometimes that she would breathe into paper bags. Where were those bags now when she needed them? Darn why wasn't she as prepared as Lexie. But then again, she remembered her and Matthew laughing uncontrollable at Lexie because she looked so funny doing that. She wasn't sure that was what she wanted Arizona's first impression of her to be; a young girl, with brown eyes and hair, breathing erratically into bag. She took a deep breath, straitened her shirt and hair, and said a small prayer. Just as she was about to move, she heard laughter coming from Arizona's office. Is that her? Sofia thought as a nervous smile came back to her face. What a silly question, of course it was her. She could just tell by the tone in her laughter, a laughter that filled the hallway, this was the woman she'd been looking for. She moved closer to the door and then stopped in the doorframe with her notebook in both her hands in front of her.
Arizona looked up and smiled causing Sofia's heart, that was beating so erratically, now seem to stop.
"I'll call you back later, Mom. There's someone here to see me." Arizona said a quick "Love you too. Bye" and then hung up the phone. She smiled again at the young girl who was still standing in her doorway. She noticed the girl not moving, so she tried to help make her less nervous. Arizona stood, walked over and put her hand on Sofia's shoulder ushering her into her office. "Good Morning, Dear. I'm Doctor Robbins."
Sofia sat in the chair in front of Arizona's desk. She watched as the woman walked around her desk. As she sat in her chair, she spoke again. "I've heard that you've been here several times. Must be important. Is there something I can help you with?"
WOW! Sofia thought. The moment Arizona tried to make her feel more comfortable, Sofia knew that if she had done this for a stranger, what would she do for Sofia.
"Ummm…Yes. My name is Dana Plant."
"Well Dana it's nice to meet you. You seem nervous." Arizona smiled with a curious gaze.
"Yes." Sofia chuckled nervously. She looked at Arizona. Her long blonde hair feel slight over her shoulders. She had on dress slacks and a black blouse. Her blue eyes stood out the most to Sofia, until she saw a full dimpled smile.
Arizona decided to break the silence and she spoke. "Well, don't be. You know, it takes a lot of courage for a girl your age to walk in here alone. Maybe I should be the one who's nervous." Arizona said as she raised an eyebrow.
"Ne….nervous? Of me?" Sofia said shyly to Arizona question. Sofia knew the moment that Arizona smiled at her, what it was her Mother had seen in her. Sofia thought Arizona was beautiful. Like a Princess, she thought.
Arizona walked over and sat in the chair next to Sofia. "Can I ask where your parents are?"
Sofia couldn't look Arizona in the eyes. "They are working."
"Do they know you're here."
Sofia hated to lie. "Yes."
"Then there must be something that I can do for you."
"And what would that be?" Arizona looked at her very curious and couldn't have known, at that moment, one small question would open the door for so many lies.
Sofia had the pleasure of starting them. "I'm doing a paper for school."
"You go to school here in the city?" Arizona said before Sofia could continue.
"Yes." That was all that Sofia said. Silently hoping there was such a school in the city.
"What grade are you in?" Arizona asked as she placed her arms on the sides of her chair and leaned back.
"I'm in the seventh grade." She was hoping that was as far as the questions went.
"So what's this paper about?"
That question Sofia didn't mind. She had a answer for that one. "I am doing a paper on women in the field that we hope to go into some day. I want to be a Doctor so with the medical conference that is going on, I thought now would be a good time to finish my paper.
Arizona leaned up and looked Sofia straight in the eyes with amusement. "You know about the conference?" Sofia only nodded. "Wow you must have done you're research. I would be happy to answer your questions, but in a city like this, am I the only one that you know?"
Sofia thought and tried to keep a smile from forming. No! My Mother, Aunts, my dad, my uncles and godparents. Sofia finally answered, "Yes. I don't know many people in the city. We just moved here."
Arizona continued to look at the little girl. "Do I know you?" She said puzzled.
"Huh?" Sofia said starting to get nervous.
Arizona repeated the question. "Do I know you from somewhere?"
"No….no I don't think so. Why?"
"You just seem familiar to me all of a sudden." Arizona said looking straight into the girls eyes. "You just…." Arizona put her hand against her forehead, as though she was embarrassed. "How could I have that short of a memory." Sofia looked at Arizona as her nerves spiked again.
"What are you talking about?"
"Yesterday?" Sofia said as her eyebrows lowered.
"Yes, yesterday. It was you that held the door for me." Arizona smiled. "Thank you. I don't know that I got to properly tell you."
Sofia's heart almost stopped as she realized that she had been that close to Arizona yesterday. "That was you?" Sofia questioned as she could feel her frustration. "I didn't really get a good look at you."
"Yes it was me. Kind of funny, huh?"
Sofia wasn't finding the humor in the situation. "I guess."
"Now that we have solved that great mystery, what were talking about?"
Sofia saw this as a time to skip over the talk about school and family. She wasn't sure how much stuff that she could even make up. "Ummm. I was just about to ask you some questions."
"Oh yeah. Go on."
"What made you decide that you wanted to be in medicine?"
"My mom was scrub nurse and my dad was a military man so we moved a lot. Medicine just seemed to be in my blood and it was something that no matter where I went to school it was general and would transfer."
"Did you ever struggle?" Sofia said writing in the notebook that was now on her lap.
"Yes. In the beginning. Biology wasn't my friend at first. Then thing just seemed to open up for me."
As she wrote more in her notebook, she continued. "I am sure that being a Doctor means that you have to be here a lot and away from your family. How do you like that?" Sofia may not have been on the edge of her seat on the outside, but sure was on the inside.
Arizona paused a moment, willing a smile to came back to her face. "I don't have a family. Well not one like most people. I have friends here at the office that I do things with on the holidays." Arizona leaned in toward Sofia whispering. "Some of them are like the family that you hate to see coming."
"I know what you mean." Sofia said offering a genuine smile as the woman next to her leaned back.
"Well you don't seem to be the type to have family like that."
"We'll I don't really."
"I guess that everyone knows someone like that."
Sofia looked at her book again. "So you don't mind not having a family?"
Arizona stopped laughing and looked at the young girl. "No." Arizona said abruptly. "I like my life the way that it is." Arizona noticed that the young girl stopped writing and looked straight into her eyes. "I would have loved to have had children at some points in my life, but it didn't work out that way. Before then I was all about medicine and sick babies. After that time in my life, medicine being my life is where I returned." One of the thoughts that crossed Arizona's mind was of Callie. She had seen a year after she left, Callie had won the Harper Avery award. She was proud and sad at the same time. This was something she didn't like thinking about. She stopped the thoughts and returned her gaze to the girl. It was strange. It was like the girl had the same sick feeling in the pit of her stomach as Arizona did.
"So you don't ever wish thing could be different for you? I mean, you work with kids."
"Dana dear, I liked my life just fine when I was younger. Things happened and I changed. After that, well I just started to work again. I know this isn't the proper things to say, but it's the truth. I truly love the way that my life is."
Sofia suddenly had just enough of her Mother in her that those words almost made her cry. She looked down trying to write things in her notebook again and did so to keep Arizona from seeing the tears that wanted to come out of her eyes. Sofia was very smart for her age and knew what the time in between meant. She started another question when she felt as though she had convinced the woman she had just been writing things down. "You said the time before and the time after, what about the time in the middle. You didn't like your life then?"
Arizona thought for a second. "Yes." A sadness seem to come over Arizona as she thought of the years since returning from Malawi. She cleared her throat. "I loved my life then."
Sofia pulled all the strength that she had together. "Do you ever think about that time? I mean before?"
Arizona looked right into the young girls eyes and lied. "No. It was a long time ago. You can't spend your life looking behind, Dana. If you do, then you miss some pretty amazing things in front of you. Things changed and so did I."
"I have to go!" Sofia stood feeling like an idiot for even trying with this woman. She didn't think about them anymore. She was happy with her life and that is the way she wanted it. Sofia wasn't going to mess with that.
"Wait!" Arizona said as she watched the girl run out of her office. "What did I say?" Arizona said as she tried to follow her. Arizona quickly noticed something laying the floor just outside her office. Arizona saw her lying there on the ground. She opened the notebook to see what the young girl was concentrating on so hard. She was amazed. She looked at it and then turned it over. She shuffled through some of the pages. Blank! There was nothing. Nothing other than some scribbling lines. What was she doing and why was she asking so many questions if she didn't even write them down?
Lexie and Teddy saw Sofia coming down the hallway, and they stood. Sofia didn't say anything to them as she walked by. They looked at each other and quickly followed the little girl. "Sofia!" Lexie shouted. "Sof, wait up!"
Sofia stopped and turned abruptly toward them as they were walking as fast as they could to catch her. "What!" They both noticed that Sofia's face was already wet.
Teddy spoke first. "Honey, its been a long time."
"She doesn't miss us. Probably never did!" Sofia huffed. "And I don't want to talk about her again! I know now why Mom never mentions her. Cuz….cuz she's mean."
Teddy drew Sofia into a hug and let her cry. She knew that something was wrong here. Arizona would have never said anything to hurt Sofia. No matter what had happened with Callie and Mark or how much time had pasted. Something just wasn't right. Teddy would find out when they got home, but not here on the busy street, in front of everyone.
Arizona darted from her office and went to the receptionist. "Where'd she go?"
"The young girl. Dana! I don't know what happened. She was asking questions, not about my job, but personal questions and pretended to write things down in this book, but there's nothing here." Arizona said as she forcefully put the notebook down on the receptionist's desk "It's just weird."
"Yeah concidering she's been here three times and really wanted to talk to you. And she just ran out?"
Arizona quickly went out the door and looked through the busy street. Looking up and down the block, across the street and looking at people that were going in and out of buildings. She thought she was gone, but suddenly caught a glimpse of the girl walking off with someone's arm around her. Arizona watched as she walked off until she caught a side shot of one of the women Dana was with. "Lexie?" A breathless whispered escaped Arizona. Her mind was racing. Just as quick as Callie's daughter had walked in her office, she had walked out. Only somehow she had done it unnoticed.