"Hurry up Dessa, I'm starving!" Grace complained by the door. I threw my crocs into my locker and grabbed my jacket. My first day is only half over and I'm already exhausted! Working in the ER is hectic, fast paced and sometimes chaotic. I'm so glad its time for lunch.
I followed Grace as she nearly bounced down the hall way and out the front doors. She always has boundless amounts of energy.
"I knew working in the ER was going to be difficult but I never realized how hard some of the cases would hit me, you know?" she said as we walked down the street. Our favorite café was only a two minute walk from the hospital.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I had to stitch us a stab victim, he was only 7 years old! It took twenty minutes to suture his lacerations. I wanted to cry the whole time." I sighed flopping down in a metal chair under the bright yellow umbrella on the patio eating area.
"I saw him! His mother was yelling at him for picking some kind of fight at school! Oh and the big accident on that highway! I forgot how much carnage a car accident could cause! Half the people that were brought in didn't even make it to the operating room." She shuddered. We both ordered grilled chicken salads.
"I set quite a few broken bones for the ones who lived. A woman had to be sedated because she lost her husband and had become hysterical. I felt so bad. What do you say to someone like that? How do you tell them that there was nothing you could do to save the one they loved?" I'll never forget the look the woman gave me when I told her how sorry I was for her loss but there wasn't anything we could do for her husband.
"There really isn't anything you could say." Grace pocked moodily at her salad. "All you can do is let them know that you tried to the best o your ability. There isn't anything anyone could say to lessen the pain of losing someone you care about."
"I guess you're right. I just wish there was something I could do, you know? Something that could bring them some comfort, any comfort." We lapsed into rare silence. Grace and I are almost never quiet, especially not when we are together. The waitress had come by and refilled our sodas by the time she spoke again.
"Do you think Josh would go for me?" I couldn't help but laugh. Leave it to Grace to take a semi-serious conversation and shoot it in a whole other direction.
"Josh from pediatrics?"
"Yeah, tall, dark, mysterious and handsome, on top of that he likes kids! He's perfect." She sighed dreamily.
"The idea of him is perfect. You haven't ever spoken to him." I teased her. Over her shoulder I noticed a man headed our direction. He looked…unclean to say the least. He's probably just a homeless guy looking for restaurant leftovers. Some places do that; donate food to those in need.
"Are you even listening to me?" Grace whined. I smiled at her. My best friend, the sister I never had but always wanted.
"Yes Gracey, I am. Hunky, dreamy, kid friendly, I got it. Go on." She rolled her eyes at me but continued gushing about her latest crush. I realized the man was slowing down. He stopped beside our table, twitching slightly and looking very nervous.
"Can I help you?" I asked politely. No need to be rude, he may be lost, or mentally ill. You never know with homeless people. He took his hand out of his pocket and the light of the sun glinted off a reflective surface.
"You can die." He said desperately, his hand shaking. It was a gun. I was startled by a loud bang, and then I registered the pain blossoming from my left side, right next to my collar bone. Part of my mind was focused on the pain, and the growing darkness I was experiencing, as well as the screams I could barley here around me. The analytical part of my brain supplied only one word: Fatal.
My vision blurred and my head swam. I tried to breathe slowly and not panic but I knew it was useless. My medical training told me that. I saw an image of the woman whose husband had died earlier that day. She was wearing my scrubs and standing alone in a sea of darkness.
"I'm sorry," She said, hands clasped before her. "There was nothing we could do…"