Monday, April 11, 2011

Nurse Jane

Once when I was four or five my mother had to go to the hospital for surgery on her foot. She has this problem, see, she was born with it backwards and recently she had discovered she had an extra bone moving everything in her foot around, so she went for surgery. Dad had to fill out some forms so he brought Ana and me along. Ana plopped down and got lost in her book, and after a couple of failed attempts to get her attention I decided to wander around.

I looked around for a while until I came across a closed door. Most of the doors were open, empty rooms, but this one was closed. I opened it and found a doctor suit inside.I was a moving blob of fabric with a head. Some woman nearly had a second heart attack that day when she saw me outside in the hall so I walked in and kept her company until a nurse arrived.

NURSE: Hello, little girl. How are you?


NURSE: How old are you?

ME: *Still not understanding* ...

NURSE: Who's your mommy?

ME: *Silence* ...

NURSE: Okayy...

The nurse telephoned the front desk to find Dad while I calmly held the woman with the heart attack's hand. The lady, named Mary Parker, was very sweet. She was 87 years old and had been having heart problems her entire life. I told her about Mom's foot and she recommended something called 'acupuncture'. I filed the information in my head as she told me a story.

It was a fascinating story. About her life when she was little. The nurse hung up the phone just as she finished telling the story about how she had met her recently-deceased husband selling flowers when she was six. The nurse said that no children were reported missing in the last five hours and they had no clue who my father was. She also said that I could help out. She dug through seventeen boxes and four closets but she finally found a uniform and hat my size. Immediately I rushed off, and though nobody told me to I ran into the kitchen and jumped on the counter I grabbed a mug and poured orange juice into it (Mrs. Parker had told me she loves orange juice and peanut butter toast) and then I toasted a piece of bread until it was golden brown and smothered it in peanut butter. Then, like an adult, I calmly walked with the tray back to Mrs. Parker's room.
Mrs. Parker was delighted and gobbled the toast up. I left her in peace and wandered around the building. Then I came out to the garage and climbed into an ambulance. Suddenly, two large men jammed themselves into the truck and started driving away. I heard the siren, and I tried to get out but we were already rolling. I saw the way cars moved to let us through and I thought it was because I was so important, but then we screeched to a stop. I climbed up into the front seat and saw them loading a man onto a stretcher and a car stopped five feet away from him, he'd been hit by a car. I was so frightened when they loaded him up, and once the ambulance man saw me and saw my suit, he let me keep the injured man company. And I found my hat, too. (I'd lost it before when I first climbed in)
The man's spirit had been lifted and when we got back to the hospital the woman said that his name was Derek Portis and he was 39 and he had brightened up so much that it would take a much shorter time for him to recover. I promised I'd visit him. I did my job well, I even supervised a surgery...
Met some new friends...
And I had returned to Dad and Ana just in time.

Ah, forget it.

He'd never believe me anyway.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Day In The Life

When I was three and a half I always woke my parents up at dawn.

I mean, it wasn't my fault, it was DAYTIME. Time to get up, rub my belly and fix me a fresh batch of cous-cous for breakfast.

"Mom, Dad, the SUN is up!! You don't HAVE to stay in bed anymore!"

Mom and Dad had always told me I had to wait until sunrise to wake them.

Each morning Mom and Dad would stagger downstairs, unable to operate without a single drop of caffeine in their blood and when they got downstairs they would see a overly-excited six year old and three year old holding a tray of plastic food and a plastic kitchen and a bucket of plastic food, with two plastic apples spilled out onto the floor.

Then Mom would 'eat' the banana and spoon while Dad made coffee. At some point I would decide Mom was hogging too much food so I gave Dad my glass of plastic milk and he gave me real milk in a baby bottle in exchange. I stashed the food back in the box and we sat down to real breakfast. Then we'd be engrossed in cartoons while Mom continued to sleep at the breakfast table and Dad got ready for work. We crowded around him when he was about to go. After Dad left Mom would wash the dishes and do some housecleaning while Ana and I raced outside with our baby dolls. We would set out bottles of water and bowls and prop our babies up against bushes and trees. We had this special sort of paste of flour and water. It wasn't for eating, but it was fun to serve our babies with. We also loved shaping the paste and stuff. After we fed our baby dolls we would go into the backyard with Mom to harvest the garden. Then we would have lunch. After lunch Ana and I would go downstairs. We had a game where you took the Easter egg shells from last Easter and hide them and then the other would find them. And then Mom would lie down. Ana and I planned all KINDS of mischief while Mom was asleep. Planned. We didn't do it. We were too good children to be bad, so all we did was plan.

Dad was usually home at 6:00. He'd get changed and then we'd eat dinner and watch a movie. Then we'd start winding down, Mom would take Ana to her room and tuck her in while Dad and I snuggled together reading stories until we fell asleep. Soon the entire house was dark, and all was quiet. That was a day in the life seven years ago. As you can imagine, the routine has changed, but not by much.