My alarm goes off at six Monday morning, and instead of hitting snooze for half an hour like I usually do, I hop out of bed , and grab my scrubs. I’m really excited for today.“You ok?” Dad peers in my room. He’s not used to me being awake this early.
“I work at eight.’
“Do you have a ride?” He asks, concerned.
“Yeah, Jordan’s taking me today, because Leo has class this morning.” I say, referring to my best friend from high school, Jordan.
“Oh wow. I haven’t heard from her in a while. How’s she doing?”
“She’s good, just busy with school and work.”
“Oh okay, well tell her I said hello.”
“I will.” I call, before heading into the shower.
“Hey.” I climb into my best friend Jordan’s car.
“Hey.” Jordan gestures to the cupholder, and hands me my favorite Boston Creme donut.
“Thanks.” I reach over, and hug her, “I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages.”
“I know.” Jordan takes a sip of her coffee. “I’ve been so busy with work and school.”
“I’m so happy I graduated.”
“How was your surgery?” She asks.
“Good, it went well but I look creepy like this.”
Jordan puts her hand over mine. “Stop. No you don’t. I think you look great.”
“Thanks.” I smile a genuine smile.
“So, when are you getting your temp?” She asks, referring to my temporary prosthetic.
“I just made the appointment yesterday. A little over six weeks from now.”
“Oh, that time will fly by.”
“I hope so.” I take a sip of my coffee.
“I wish I could still wear my shell.” I say, referring to my Scleral shell that I got, when my eye started shrinking, because of how severely detached the retina had become.
“Is your shell too big now?” Jordan asks.
“Yeah, it’s way too big. The geography and space of the socket changed, when he removed my eye.”
“I’m sorry.” Jordan squeezes my hand. “That must be so tough.”
“Yeah, but it’s better than being in pain.”
“How are you feeling about your new job?” Jordan asks.
“Good, I’m just worried about people looking at the patch.”
Jordan puts her hand on my forearm. “I promise it won’t be as bad as you think.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I don’t blame you for thinking people are gonna look at you, but they’re not.”
“Okay.” I smile. “I hope so.”
Jordan pulls up at the entrance to the clinic.
“I promise it won’t be as bad as you think.”
She leans over, and kisses my cheek.“Thanks.” I smile, and put the patch on. “Thanks for taking me here, too.”
“Do you have a ride home?”“Yeah, Leo’s picking me up, thanks.”
I grab my folder, and head to the entrance of the clinic.
“Hi, are you the new OTA?” The lady behind the check in desk smiles.
“Yeah, hi I’m Alex.”
“Hi, I’m Emily.” She smiles, and shakes my hand. “I’ll show you where to clock in.”
I follow Emily to the nurse’s station, and use the iPad to clock in,
“You can just wait right here, and Candace will come get you, she’s the OT you’re going to be assisting the first half of your shift today, until lunch.”
“Oh, okay.” I smile and wait in the waiting room.
I glance through the magazines, and something about them really spark my interest, Their cases are so complicated, yet so amazing.
Five minutes later, a woman in purple scrubs with short black hair comes into the waiting room.
“Yeah.” I smile at her.“Hi. I’m Karen, you’ll basically be my second hand today.” She shakes my hand, and leads me into the waiting room.
“I really like your patch.” She smiles. “My first patient of the day wears one too.”
I suddenly feel so included, like I fit in with everyone here.
Right on cue, a little girl with glasses and an eyepatch over her eye comes into the room.
“Who are you?” She asks.
I look at the clipboard, to find her name.
“Hi Anya, I’m Alex.”
“Why are you here?”
“Could you be any more welcoming?” Candace chimes in, “She’s gonna play with you today.”
“Why do you have a patch?” Anya asks.
Is it already starting?
“Anya..” Karen interjects. “I know sometimes we’re curious about different things, but there are different ways we ask.”
I smile. “It’s okay.”
I look over at Anya. I have to wear this patch for a little while.” I shrug it off.
Anya smiles. “I like yours. It’s pretty.”
“Thank you.” I smile at Anya. “Yours is pretty, too.”
“I wear mine, cause I had RB. I got my eye taken out.”
“How old are you?” I gently put my hand over hers.
“Six.” She smiles.
“Cool.” I smile, then hesitate before saying what I need to say. “I had my eye removed, too.”
Anya smiles at me, looking a little more comfortable.
“Wanna play with me?”
“Hey.” I climb into Leo’s car after work.
“Hey.” He leans in and kisses me, stroking my face.
“How was your day?” I put my head on his shoulder.
“Good, just went to work and school.” He takes my hand and kisses it. “How was yours?”
“Good, I had a lot of fun, I really like all of the patients.”
“Hey, do you wanna grab pizza and watch a movie? My parents are out for the night.”
Watching a movie and cuddling with Leo sounds amazing,
“Sure, but I can’t be out too late, I work tomorrow.”
“Okay, it won’t be late.” Leo leans over, and kisses my cheek.
“What movie do you wanna watch?” Leo asks, after dinner.
“Up?” I ask.
“Sure.” Leo pops the movie into the DVD player, and I snuggle in next to him.
“Want me to make some popcorn?” Leo asks.
“Yeah. We can’t have a movie without popcorn.”
Leo kisses my forehead, “I’ll be right back.”
“Want some creme soda?” He calls from the kitchen.
Leo comes back with the popcorn and soda, and sits next to me on the couch.
I put my arm around him. “Thanks for getting me that job.”
“No problem.” Leo kisses me. “I knew you’d like it.’
I go back to the movie, but I can see Leo starting at me,
“What’s wrong?” I ask, looking at him.
“You can take the patch off when you’re with me.”
“You don’t like it?”
“I do, but I like you a lot better without it.”
Tears stream down my cheeks.
Leo smiles, and kisses me. “Why are you crying, love?”
“Because I love you.” I smile and kiss him.
“I love you so much too.” Leo kisses me back, running his thumb over my cheek, drying my tears,
“What’s up, love?” He takes my hand, and kisses it,
“You don’t think anything differently about me?”
“No.” Leo kisses my forehead. “It just made me love you more.”
I smile and kiss him, and pretty soon we end up making out on the couch. I love Leo so much. I fall asleep with my head on his chest.
“Love.” Leo kisses my forehead. “We fell asleep, it’s nine thirty.”
“Oh, thanks.” I slip my sneakers on.
“I wish you could stay but I work tomorrow, I’m sorry.”
“It’s cool, I work tomorrow morning too.”
“Want a snack for the road?” Leo asks. His house is always stacked with snacks.
“Yeah, and I better take some home for the girls, or they won’t let me live it down.”
I grab some assorted Little Debbie cakes, and Leo and I head out.
“Leo?” I ask, after we get in the car.
“Yes. my love?”
“Did you have your eye removed too?” Leo had Cancer called Retinoblastoma. He’s been a Cancer survivor since he was five, but he still sees Dr. Calloway yearly. We actually met in the waiting room of Dr. Calloway’s office,
“I don’t want to talk about this.” Leo shifts into drive, and focuses on the road.
“I just don’t.” Leo takes my hand, and kisses it.
“So you didn’t?”
Leo sighs. “No.”
“Oh.” I bite my lip. “Well that’s good, I’m happy for you.”
Leo kisses my cheek. “I’m sorry my love.”
“No.” I smile, trying not to cry. “I’m really happy for you.”
Leo takes my hand, and kisses it. “You don’t have to be happy for me. I understand.”
Tears stream down my cheeks. “I don’t know why I’m so upset.”
Leo puts his arm around me, and pulls in front of the driveway.
Leo hands me a tissue. “I’m here whenever you need to talk, my love.”
He gently kisses my cheek. “I love you.”
I smile throughout the tears and kiss him. “I love you too.”
“Here, I’ll walk you in.” Leo and I get out of his SUV, and he walks me to the door.
“I’m sorry, I love you.”
I hug Leo, not wanting to let go.
“It’s okay, I love you too.”
Leo kisses my forehead. “I get off at eight tomorrow, so do you want to go to dinner after work?”
“Yeah, sure.” I stand on my tiptoes and kiss him. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” He strokes my face. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”