One: if only they could get my name right
“MAGGIE PETERS! TREVOR MURDOCK. AMELIA DE LA CRUZ! CHARLIE BURKE.”
I stepped forward from the line at the sound of my name being spoken harshly, looking around the room as three other people did the same. A Korean girl with auburn hair that seemed perfectly airbrushed, a tanned boy with an infectious smirk and dimples deeper than the Grand Canyon, and an African-American boy who held his head high. They all towered over me, except for the girl, and they all looked around my age. The only thing that separated them from me? They all looked like they wanted to be here, where as I would have gladly knocked over the walls to escape this hospital. I would have done so too, if it weren’t for two things:
One, my mother worked at this hospital, and the news of one of the nurses’ daughters crashing through the window in an attempt to leave would spread faster than disease.
And two, the teen volunteer supervisor -- Dr. Angela Hackett -- had the aura of a witch.
We watched as Dr. Hackett flipped through the clipboard, the sound of papers rustling filling the small multipurpose room of Riverside Memorial. As we waited for our first tasks as new teen volunteers, I could feel the other people in the room watching me. Or maybe it was all in my head. Either way, I hastily tugged at my stray hairs, switching to leaning on my left foot to my right.
Left, right, left, right. Fix hair. Left, right.
“You four are assigned to me,” Dr. Hackett’s shoulder slumped, and she rolled her eyes. “Let’s see. Maggie, Amy--”
Amelia, I thought to myself quietly.
“--you’re assigned to the Flower Cart.”
My eyebrow raised. I had no clue what the Flower Cart was, but I sighed in relief. I wouldn’t be seeing anything too gory today, at least not with the Flower Cart.
I glanced at Maggie, the Korean girl. She threw me a soft smile and a wave that I returned with less of a fluid grace than her. Just looking at her, I could feel another surge to want to fix my hair.
“Trevor, Charlie, you’ll be manning the lobby and directing the families where to go,” Hackett yawned.
Suddenly, the tanned boy raised a hand.
“We haven’t been given a tour of the hospital yet.”
“How do we even know where everything is if we haven’t been given a tour?”
I cringed, fearing the worst. The other thirteen or so teen volunteers held their breaths.
Hackett stepped forward, “Trevor Murdock, is it?”
Trevor nodded, flashing her an effortless smirk.
“It says here you have solid 4.9 grade point average, captain of the baseball team two years running, lactose-intolerant, and you’re an aspiring nuerosurgeon. Is that correct?” Hackett flashed a fake smile after reading Trevor’s file, as Trevor nodded, much slower this time.
Her smile vanished. “If this is all true, you should be smart enough to know not to cross me.”
She pulled a blue paper out of her white doctor’s coat pocket. “Here’s a blueprint,” she huffed, slamming it onto his chest. “Learn it. Live it. Inhale it. I won’t have any teen volunteers under my watch who are incompetent of reading a map. Not under my watch, you hear me?”
Trevor froze, the blueprint still on his chest.
Hackett stepped backwards, sighing loudly and bringing two fingers to the bridge of her nose and closing her eyes. Then she opened them and glared at us.
“Come on people, this is Riverside Memorial Hospital, one of the best hospitals in Alabama! As long as I’m concerned, this is one of the best hospitals in the United States, you got that? After all, we were only ranked second in the entire country. Teen volunteers for this hospital aren’t regular teen volunteers. You are hand-picked scholars, top of your class, and are watched under a microscope. You all are in the running for receiving a medical scholarship, a full ride to medical schoo, and the experience of a lifetime to follow around doctors, watch medical procedures like open heart surgery, and carve your name into medical history,” then she suddenly glared at Trevor, “But if you can’t read a map, you might as well get out, because we’re only choosing three of you at the end of the summer for this exclusive program.”
Truthfully, Dr. Angela Hackett would’ve been drop dead gorgeous. She had blonde hair that was wispy and looked soft, with even softer features and a talent for pulling off vivid red lipstick that somehow played off her semi-tanned skin. She was tall and thin, and If she wasn’t so volatile and plain angry, I could picture her on a magazine; Vogue, even.
A silence blanketed the room, and the twenty teen volunteers in matching outfits started getting antsy. Eyes gravitated towards Trevor, but the only movement he did was shove the map into his pockets. His face was no longer tanned, but more of a deep red. Like a fried tomato. Or blood.
Hackett nodded, rolling her eyes and turning back to her clipboard.
“Alright. You four are good to go. Go. Now. Get out of my sight.”
I didn’t need to be told twice, as I followed right after Trevor, Maggie, and Charlie out the door. Immediately, we stepped out into the bustle of hospital life. Men and women with scrubs and white coats ran around with charts, white masks, stethoscopes, and the smell of antiseptic. The front desk rang with pagers and beeping. The hospital was alive, and we were on our own to do our tasks for the day. We volunteer for five hours for five weeks, no exceptions.
We stuck out in our uniformed khakis and identical navy blue polos with the hospital logo on the right breast, like a navy blue stain in a sea of white coats, white scrubs, white masks. We kind of hovered in the lobby for a while, unsure of what to do next after that horrible initiation process.
“What the hell is her problem?” I instantly blurted.
The three of them turned to me. Maybe they were noticing me for the first time. I haven’t exactly spoken to any of the volunteers at all.
“What?” I asked.
“Amelia, is it?” The really gorgeous Korean girl -- Maggie -- asked.
“No, Hackett said her name was Amy,” Blueprint guy -- Trevor -- said.
“Actually, it’s Amelia.”
“Thought it was Amy,” the other boy, Charlie, muttered, looking away.
“It’s Amelia. Like the female pilot? The one they never saw again after she flew off into the Pacific?”
They stared at me, Maggie nodding in silent understanding, Trevor unfolding his blueprints, and Charlie narrowing his confused eyes.
“Well, Amelia, Dr. Angela Hackett is one of the top neurosurgeons in the country, and she used to be the Chief of Neurosurgery at Riverside before she got demoted,” Maggie explained with gusto, smiling brightly like she was telling about a major accomplishment. “She got bumped down to Teen Volunteer Supervisor after she erred in surgery.”
“Erred? In surgery?”
“Brain surgery. August 30th, 2014, a patient named Lyla Black,” Trevor recited fluently, like it was a script. He smirked again. His dimples were like craters on the moon.
I raised an eyebrow. “How does he know—”
“The woman almost died because it was the morning after Hackett found out her husband cheated on her with her sister, and she was too caught up in her own emotions that she didn’t focus. After that, it was all downhill from there,” Maggie shook her head, tsk’ing.
“Everyone knows being the Teen Supervisor is like being the bottomfeeder at this hospital,” Trevor said. “I mean, she was Chief of Neurosurgery at Riverside. The humilation might have killed her.”
“And then her rage brought her back to life,” Maggie laughed.
“She broke the first rule of surgery,” came Charlie’s deep voice suddenly, interrupting Maggie’s light giggling. ”Never lose focus. Any seasoned professional or idiot would know that. It’s her own fault. Anyway, she’ll be even more of a prick if she finds out we’re not doing our jobs and standing here talking like it’s lunchtime. I don’t know about you, but I want that scholarship, and I’m not going to get it by talking to you people.”
Trevor raised a hand to object, but his partner was already stalking off.
“I should probably follow him. I’ll see you guys at lunch,” he waved, before leaving.
“What a lovely guy. So,” Maggie turned to me. “Flower Cart?”
And so, day one and the longest five hours of my life begins.
Did you enjoy my ongoing story so far? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, blissom / paulinaWrite a Review