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Sep 15 by Horseshoe
"It was a hot and sultry night as I approached the nursing station for my shift. Though the temperature was oppressively high as I signed in at the computer, I felt a chill at the dark and moody atmosphere oozing from every pore of the unit. This did not bode well..."
Sep 15 by Hygiene Queen
Suddenly,a tortured cry shook my foundations. It crumbled me to the core. It shattered my shimmies. I ran, though I ran blindly, not seeing but hearing, feeling, the anguish which I knew I must quell. All my senses, but my eyesight,beckoned me to go.
Rounding the corner, I could finally see what had called me. My eyes had opened like a defiant flower in Spring. It was a man. A very handsome man... who had entrusted his life to me... and he was in pain. My heart melted,but I knew I must be strong. Somebody had to save him. I readily accepted the challenge..."
Sep 15 by amoLucia
"But to what expense all my other great needy ones would feel the bane of my neglect. Oh, the choice is tearing me apart! Deep gut wrenching sobbing escapes my lips. Salty tears cascade down my otherwise pale, but flushed cheeks. My bosom heaves as I race to be by his side.
Onward I fight my way to my beleaguered patient. I look away from all the others waving desperately as they vie for my attentions already so precariously stretched to their overburdened limits. No matter to meeting their seemingly petty needs. HE needs me. HE is my calling. For HIM I will forego all others ..."
Sept 16 by amoLucia
"Tormented, I think, how do I assuage his pain. Oh, how I long to hold him in my aching arms until my longing dissipates. But my sense of duty and propriety gnaws at my anguished core. Where are my limits? Do I abandon my ethics to broach that imaginary boundary crossing over into that dark netherland of guilty bonding closeness.
Ever so silently like a church mouse, I approach his bedside. His respirations slowly rise and fall. Lying there on crumpled sheets like a discarded tissue, I see him. All my deepest instincts well up in me. Multi tubing lines fall into a swarming huddle as I struggle to untwine them. My fingertips singe as I touch his pillow. Gently and softly, ever so softly ...
But alas, ever so faint and remote school time memories of my mentors come flooding back to me. Like marble monuments to times long gone they stand to observe my every move. I float awash, like flotsam caught in a river of whitewater. Admonished, I hear the others nearby. They too have their own wants of me. Down my unit's long darkened hallway, I behold a view of call lights like a swarm of fireflies on a hot, humid summer night flickering. The incessant roar of monitor beeps and pump alarms play an unsynchronized chorus to me.
Their hunger, thirst, wakefulness, hot and cold all beg my attention. So much needed. And so to them I turn, slowly, and with mixed regrets ..."
Sep 21 by amoLucia
"Reluctantly I start down that shrouded hallway. Dim moonlight peers through some windows only to emphasize the isolation and loneliness felt by others in this deserted place. Is there anyone who visits these lonely ones? Does anyone love them? Did they love anyone?
I approach the first room to my left. I gaze upon the bed's occupant. Her withered, gnarly hands tightly clutch the rails that almost seem to imprison her within her bed. I think to myself "did she ever feel the emotions I do at this time?". Did she ever love someone deeply, but deeper still, did anyone love HER as deeply as I love HIM? She smiles ever so faintly as I come close. "I know all about it, dear. I understand him now. Yes, you should". I look at her, startled and bewildered. Am I such an easy read? Does she know the torment I am facing? "Stay with me til my love comes home to me", she pleads. With a muffled gasp I leave her.
By sheer force I stop to check the ancient mariner across mid-hall. Angry words, hurtful words hiss out of his mouth. The anger just bubbles from him, much like the bubbling air machine that provides the precious air which he uses to spew such awfulness. NO family remembers him. No long-lost children or grandchildren ever visit. No prayers will ever be offered when the time comes for him to cross over into that Great Abyss. His eyes squint to focus on me, but they are unseeing. "Why did you let this happen to me", he bellows as spittle drips. "Fix me", he demands. Immense waves of impotency flood my senses. I can do very little do meet his demand, but I feel some twinge of guilt that I must. Darkness and quiet becomes overwhelming.
I so desperately want to retreat to my sheltered safe place, my safe harbor. .
Oct 1 by amoLucia
"I stumble out of his room to continue my rounds only to hear some faint cry of "I'm hungry", "is it breakfast time?", "is that the breakfast bell"? Tracing those sounds down the far end on the darkened hall I hear those distant calls again. Echoing in the silence, I hear them, and then I remember.
'Once a nurse, always a nurse' as I was once scolded. A member of the class of 1913, revered and respected by the many who followed in her footsteps. Her voice, clear as a bell, could still bark out orders. A military career in the day when women nurses first served their country, she demanded and rightfully earned distinction. Posture straight as an arrow, she commanded attention.
An honored and beloved professor emeritus in her late career, she was now calling out in her mind's mixed jumble of realities and memories. What stories she told us naÃ¯ve students of duty shifts long past. But now revisiting some distant time and place none of us could travel with her. How lonely for her and others like her.
A cup of ginger tea gently relaxed time and chased the shadows for the moment. Such a small effort. And soon all was quiet again.
With overwhelming trepidation I face the return back the hall. I still need to face my fear .. my passion ...
Oct 5 by amoLucia
"I turn pushing my steps out to the finally quiet corridor. Suddenly a new voice is calling aloud. I recognize that voice and I stop in my steps. Suddenly the urge to flee is all but overwhelming. The stairs to the back hall, rarely used, beckon to me. I could slip out; no one would be the wiser. I would be able to avoid all the conflict that tears at me. I pass thru those portals, ready to bound down those cob-webbed steps, but I stop in the foyer.
Abandonment. That's what it would be. The coward's way out. I AM braver than that. Or am I! I have to face him. I HAVE TO. He has to know. I owe that to him. But I also owe it to myself.
Ever so quietly, I tiptoe his room. He gazes upon me as he whispers my name. Almost like half a secret, half a prayer. I start to involuntarily respond; my eyes finely pierce the darkness, my breath catches in short rapid gasps, my heart rate flutters away bounding in my ears. I feel my adrenaline surge. Fight or flight! How I wish I had fled down those stairwell steps! But I am here now.
Our fingertips touch ever so lightly. A wisp of my tresses falls to my shoulders and he brushes it away. Just the briefest feather of touches. I back away. 'Not now, not ever'. There are the others'. There. I finally uttered those terrible words. Our pasts come jumbling out to catch up to our presents, like thunder and lightening from distant malevolent storms. Previous loves, previous avocations, promises made long ago. I can't back away far enough. Demons long thought buried are alive as ever. And ever present.
'But I will wait', he husks. That awful roar is starting to muffle. A sense of calm begins to appear. A cool breeze blows through the corridor. Refreshing. Renewing. Affirming. Just like his wistful smile."
Oct 21 by amoLucia
I struggled to wait. Six years of 'waiting' Six years. "Time DOES NOT fly. I suffered an excruciating, abruptly painful, agonizingly slow 6 year journey. Like a prison sentence. I hesitated until I believed all was well, believing that he would wait as he said he would all those years long past. But he followed a mistress too intriguing, too powerful and so demanding that I was no competition' albeit my pitiful efforts.
I tried to follow. My travels took me afar, to many a foreign locale. To the many women with children and old men, I was "doctora" or "enferma". I saw humanity at it worst, but also at its best. People needing my skills, the application of all I knew as an art & science was of little import when it could do little for myself. But just the knowledge that HE was somewhere near made it all worthwhile and bearable.
I could face the solitude. Or so I thought. Until that one night, ...
Oct 29 by No Stars In My Eyes
Having accepted an assignment to a tiny group of islands that were nearly swallowed by the vastness of the ocean which loomed as a living presence all around us, I thought to lose myself in the difficult work of saving lives in primitive conditions with outdated supplies.The islands were so isolated, but the need, that oh so critical need was what lured me to them. Hoping to forget my past, hoping to forget... everything!
I took to wandering at night when I could not sleep. My soul echoed in the restless heaving of ocean waves as they endlessly crashed on the lonely, empty shores. Empty, like me, longing for more than the insistent thundering of the tides.
Those restless tides cried out again and again, with no peace, no respite, like my heart continued to beat with the longing still alive inside me, clutching at my heart, refusing to be banished.
As I walked with a listless and bereft gait, tears ran down my face as if by their own accord. So often were they on my cheeks, I barely noticed them anymore. I had no need for a handkerchief as the ocean breezes dried my tears as they fell. My thin cotton dress teased around my body, the hem lifting and falling, at the mercy of the ever changing winds.
Something intruded on my reverie, all these years the sole companion of my physical being.
Suddenly I noticed an unusual sight: a faint light coming from a small bungalow in the distance. I began to walk a little more quickly. When I arrived at the doorway that was ajar, I slowed and stood listening. There was barely any sound except the waves now coming to my ears from a distance. Yet, I sensed another being within that shack. Curiosity overtook me, so I eased my slender, lithe body through the door, my chest quivering nervously with the effort of breathing quietly, so as not to be discovered.
As I crept into the shabby treatment bay, I saw a tall shadowy figure standing with it's back toward me, concentrating on what was on the table below, where a flashlight with a fading battery was set on end. It's puny light pointing upwards cast a faint halo around the figure.I gasped with a shock of unbelieving recognition. The adrenaline shot through me. Could it be...?
The figure turned at the sound of my breath of shock. As it turned, I knew the rapid beating of my heart was amplified in the silent room.
So filled with emotion I could barely whisper, I panted out just one word...."YOU!"
Oct 30 by NoStars In My Eyes
The man took the flashlight from the table and shone it's weak light upon my face, then down my trembling body, before coming back to my face. The sound of the deep, warm voice I feared I would never hear again made my knees buckle. I had been hanging tightly, my knuckles white with the strain, on to the back of a chair. I sat suddenly , and then the words he had spoken penetrated, confusing me. It wasn't the first words I'd been expecting or hoping him to say.
"Do you have electricity in this place?"
I sat in silence, but my mind was racing. Didn't he recognize me? Had I changed so much during the six years we'd been apart? In the dim light, my hungry eyes traveled his face. I remembered that strong square chin, the aqualine nose that gave him such a noble profile, his dark, thickly-lashed grey eyes, those neatly set ears, the curly, tousled hair that dipped forward over his brow. And those broad shoulders that always made me catch my breath, those strong, well-muscled arms I longed to have hold me in his embrace. He spoke again, with soft kindness in his tone.
"Do you speak English?"
I could say nothing. I didn't know where to start. I thought of our first meeting, his pain, the long dark hallways at the hospital, where I could hear him say my name over all the ambient sounds of a hospital ward at night, the connection we'd felt. He cleared his throat,
I flushed with embarrassment and stuttered out haltingly, "The, um, the gen-generators are t-turned off at nine. O'clock, that is. We, uh, have to conserve the fuel that runs them." I couldn't think clearly. I was stunned by his presence. What was he doing here? WHY was he here?
He nodded solemnly. "I see." he said, and as he spoke those two words, the flashlight battery died and we were plunged into darkness. He chuckled softly and at the sound, my insides melted as if I had just swallowed a shot of whiskey.
"I suppose I should introduce myself properly," he said, "My name is Peter Richards Quillingsly, but my friends call me 'Quill'. You may call me that as well, for I feel we are going to become good friends."
"Quillingsly?" I thought with a shock, "But no, your name is Richard Peters Quillingsly!" I thought I wasn't hearing him correctly. I still could not find any words.
As he asked me, "And you are....? Your name, please?", my heart sunk with despair. He didn't know me. Although I was sure it was HIM. I knew it was not him. What was going on here?
Finally finding my voice, I said "Richard Peters Quillingsly?" and he laughed again, this time with some bitterness.
"No, I am Peter Richards Quillingsly. Richard is my twin brother."
My mouth dropped open, I blinked rapidly. I was glad it was dark and he could not see my expression. I'm sure I was gaping like a fish unable to breath the air.
My hands began to shake and I managed to ask him what bungalow he was going to be staying in. He mentioned the name of the little cottage right next to mine. Oh my Lord!
I told him I'd show him the way to his quarters, and as I moved past him to lead the way, he took my hand in his large warm hand. My heart leaped. He said."I'm afraid I can't see my way very well in the dark; lead the way." We stepped out into the light ocean breeze, the sound of waves now murmuring in the distance. He spoke again, "Oh, yes, I think I'm really going to like it here."
I had to smile.