Craving My BossBy: Tasha Fawkes
“May I help you, dear?” one of the ladies asked with a smile.
“To the left, follow the corridor.”
“Thanks.” I quickly turned left. I’d never been inside this hospital before, although next semester, I might be enduring my summer practicum hours here. It looked like a nice place—floor-to-ceiling windows on the left, real potted plants, low-pile carpeting with a modern abstract design in colorful red, yellow, and blue.
After I rounded the curve of the building, I saw the waiting room of the emergency department at the far end of the hall. I quickly made my way to yet another reception desk, this one situated behind a half wall of stucco and wood paneling on the bottom, glass on top. The nurse behind the glass focused on her computer screen, fingers flying over the keys. I tapped on the glass. The nurse looked up and leaned forward to open the small sliding glass window over the desk.
“I got a text. My brother was brought here a little while ago—”
“My name is Dana Sommer. My brother’s name is Charlie Sommer. S-o-m-m-e-r.”
The nurse picked up a clipboard beside her computer, thumbed through several papers, and then nodded. “Come on back,” she said, pressing a round red button on the wall beside her desk. A low buzz followed, and I turned toward the two automatically locking doors that slowly opened. The sign on one of them read: No admittance. Emergency Room Personnel Only!
I quickly stepped through as the nurse on the other side gestured. “Follow me please.”
Mouth dry and pulse racing, I followed quickly taking in the scene. Large floor space separated into trauma bays, and light blue fabric curtains divided the spaces neatly. Carts with drawers containing numerous ER supplies, and portable x-ray and digital scanning machines, wheelchairs, and several gurneys lined the walls. Two of the bays were occupied, their curtains pulled completely around on tracks screwed into the ceiling, hiding the patients from view. The sound of a woman weeping came from one, the voice of a male doctor discussing test results with his patient from the other.
I followed the nurse as I took a hard right and then proceeded through another set of double doors. A smaller space equipped with four additional bays, each with another set of curtains hanging from their ceiling tracks.
“He’s over there, last one on the left. The doctor will come talk to you shortly.”
Before I could ask any questions, the nurse turned and left. It was quiet in here, barely any activity; was this a room where non-emergent cases waited to be seen or transferred to a room on the upper floors? A young nurse stood at a high-waisted mobile desk that served as a nursing station, tapping information into a tablet, a stethoscope resting beside it. She looked over at me, offered a small smile and a nod, and then returned to her charting or whatever it was she was doing.
My tennis shoes made no sound on the linoleum floor as I stepped toward the last bay. I grasped the curtain and slowly pulled it aside, afraid of what I might see on the other side. When I saw my brother, I clapped a hand over my mouth to stifle my gasp.
“Does it look that bad?”
“Oh my God, Charlie, what happened?” Relieved that my brother was conscious, I swept my gaze over his usually handsome face. A two-inch cut on his forehead. It looked deep. A puffy right eye nearly swollen shut, the skin around it already starting to turn a deep purple. A horizontal gash over the bridge of his nose, probably broken. It too had started to swell, as had the right side of his jaw. Along with his bottom lip, dried blood congealing on it.
“Don’t freak, Dana,” he said. “A few stitches, a cracked rib, and a busted nose, but other than that, I’m going to be all right.”
“What happened?” I stared aghast at him, reaching for his hand. I noted his scraped and bloodied knuckles and frowned. A fight?
“Don’t get pissed, I—”
“A little late for that, don’t you think? Another fight?” He looked away, shoulders slumped. I felt bad. Why did I always feel sorry for him? No matter how frustrated I got with him, I couldn’t stand the thought of him thinking I was disappointed in him. He just couldn’t seem to catch a break. Bad luck followed him, some of it his own doing, some of it merely that—bad luck.
“I owe some money… to a bookie—”
I barely stifled a groan. We had talked about this before. Or rather, I had talked, trying to get him to understand that his on-again and off-again penchant for gambling wasn’t going to get him anywhere but into trouble. I struggled to hide my disappointment. His eyes looked so… so sad. He wasn’t trying to play me. That’s the way he always looked. Most of the time, anyway. I didn’t know how to take that sadness away.