Friday, July 18, 2008

Ghosts In My Machine

Long ago and in a universe far away, I was once a young and fair novice nurse. My first place of employment was on a pediatric unit. It was there I learned the things you will never, ever learn in nursing school.

It was there that a handsome young man, trailing a length of oxygen tubing at least a mile long, gave me a double take in the hallway one fine morning.

"You're new," he said.

"Yes. I'm Janet."

He tilted his head to the left, a gesture I would soon come to learn heralded some sort of tomfoolery.

"I can't believe they went and hired a new nurse without consulting me," he said, shaking his head and looking very put out.

(He had a chronic illness and was in the hospital many times a year for up to two weeks at a time, you see. He knew us all very well.)

"Well, would you like to sit down and talk?" I asked.

"Yes, can you come to my room in ten minutes?"

Ten minutes later, I knocked on his door and heard a firm, "Come in."

I stepped inside and he had set up a miniature office, using his bed side table as a desk. He had his room phone on one corner and neatly arranged were stacks of paper, pens, and a stapler, all scavenged from the unit secretary, I'm sure.

He asked me to sit in the chair he'd placed in front of his desk and proceeded to interview me, asking some better questions than my real interviewers had asked.

Finally, he ran out of questions and leaned back, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.

"Do I get the job?" I asked.

He said yes. He said I had a kind smile and he would hire me.

Two years later, he died in another hospital, following a double lung transplant.

He was the first to break my heart and I'll remember him forever.

Loki sez: sigh


Marcheline said...

Fantastic post, perfect picture.

Isn't it amazing how someone's gestures, even described in writing, convey so much of their personality?

Japee said...

These are the stories we should collect and write.