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|Book One Chapter One, (There)|
|Topic Started: Jul 5 2012, 07:29 AM (878 Views)|
|identity1104||Jul 5 2012, 07:29 AM Post #1|
It had been an hour on the road, and I had started to feel the tension in my thighs and my lower back, so I thanked God that I, hopefully, would not have to do that trip again, and that I was finally settling down in L.A., Working as a clinical pharmacist at that small health care institution after several weeks of interviews and training. I also found a small, but convenient, apartment there just a few miles from the institution, so it would not take me much time to go to work every day by that piece of junk I called a car. I was finally independent and I did not have to stay at my uncle's anymore.
I took a glance of my watch at the dim light of the speedometer, and it was almost midnight and I was still on the highway. I had to reach home early so I could get some sleep before work the next early morning... The road was boring and dull... Every so often a bright advertisement board lit the road, or a gradient sign passed by, breaking the routine, but everything else was just trying to drive your consciousness away... I pulled down the window a little, then directly rolled it back up again.. The air draft was so cold, and I did not want to risk going to work at my first day blowing my nose in front of everyone every five minutes.
That was not my first time there in the United States, but rather it was the fourth, and I knew it quite well but only as a tourist or a student, but it would be the first time for me to live and work there permanently... That would be hard, I knew, and I would feel homesick almost every night when I lie down in bed and get all sentimental and start thinking of my home and childhood memory, and start missing everything and everyone. On the other hand, when I am safe and sound in my hometown, Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, I say when I am there I feel the urge to go somewhere else and see other parts of the world, but then when I do that I miss my home town again! yes I know it makes no sense but what can I do about it? This is just me.
Just twenty miles away from my flat I took a left turn entering the residential area, reminding myself of the way. Actually I had some note on the back seat on how to reach my destination, but I just hoped I would not be needing it. I checked the pizza on the back seat too and made sure that the word (halal) was written on the box.. I was not hungry in fact, but I had to have something to eat after the long day, especially that I was not going to have breakfast the next morning.. I never do... As I was not very fond of fainting in front of people, I would have to keep my blood glucose levels at a reasonable value, even by eating fast food which I hate so much.. I know that fast food is the freeway to colon cancer, but unfortunately I hate cooking.. I even hate being in a kitchen…
I took a tight right turn to find myself in front of the alley where I had my rental. As miracles still happened, I found a suitable spot and I parked my car near the building, just a few meters away. I killed the engine, gathered my things, and carefully carried my laptop and opened the door. Directly I made a gasp and shivered.. It was so cold, it was so dark, so gloomy.. That was my neighborhood, and I hoped I would get used to it…
I climbed to my rental on the second floor.. Plenty of doors were around, closed of course, and I wondered how I had not noticed them when I had come to check the apartment before signing the contract, but I did not wonder for long, I held the key and inserted it in the key hole and.. Tick.. The soothing sound promising me bed, silence, and my privacy finally after a long day's nigh…
I turned the dull lights on, threw my things on a chair, and threw myself on the bed, with my clothes still on.. I had to get over my thoughts rapidly that night.. I sat my phones alarm to go off on a reasonable time in the morning and put it beside me, and then I placed my hands under my head as a pillow and tried to relax.. I took a look at the room, it was lit with faint yellow light which I hated the most.. Shadows everywhere.. Opposite to the bed there was a desk with lots of drawers, and I did not know what was in them or if they were empty.. Actually I knew almost nothing about the apartment and what was in every room, which would need exploration.. I spoke to myself in a low voice, breaking the silence:
"Note to yourself, explore the apartment tomorrow after work."
I looked to my right through the glass window.. I did not have a great view as there was a huge building blocking the sight, though there was a narrow scene which appeared when I moved my head to the back, so I could see the far lights of the night life of California, the ever awake city, rocking around... These were the moments when u realized how lonely you were. I turned my head to the left and there was a mirror on the wall.. I looked at my face in it, depressed, but it looked back at me in challenge! That was the problem with my face, especially my brown eyes, they were very challenging. When someone saw me for the first time, he received a message from me saying: "I am proud of myself, I am better than you, and you are worthless to me", and as a result they challenged me back. It was one of the reasons I hated shopping in public places and always preferred to have someone with me to do the talking. Of course I tried to change my look.. I tried sadness, anger, and even being absent-minded, but nothing ever seemed to work, except in making me look pathetic…
I got tiered and so I closed my eyes... "Would I fall asleep now? Would I stop following my thoughts from here to there? What about tomorrow? Would it be a good day? What was the worst thing that could happen?”
Well, that was a question I did not want to think of…
In the morning I noticed how different the city looked. The sun light had put the night life into the grave and so it did everyday..
I had not got enough sleep, but that was okay, as I always looked tired. It was just two points of the day that I hoped I could get through, one point was when I went out to the street and face the cold air, usually the first inhalation gave me a severe sinus headache that might persist for hours, even till lunch time, which was the second time of the day I feared the most, because usually after having my lunch I looked stupid! Everything looked like a dream to me and my reactions became slow or irrelevant.. That is the so called (Post Lunch Dip) and it is a normal phenomenon, but it was very intense with me that no one would have believed that I was a pharmacist or of an IQ of 130, maximally they would have given me 80 or 90…
I put myself in a light blue shirt, black pants, and very black shoes.. I did not wear a tie because I thought it looked very formal, and I did not want to stand out, but rather fit in.. I double checked on my wallet, keys, and my phone, then had a quick glance at the mirror before I headed out.
Fortunately the weather was fine, not too hot, not too cold.. It took me two minutes to start the engine, and then I drove my old Renault out of the alley and into the main street, reminding myself of the way to the institution…
The traffic was light and it took me fifteen minutes to reach my destination.. I took a spin around the building, then parked my car at the parking lot behind it, shamefully, beside a brand new Lexus car.. I bet the janitor had a better car than mine!
I pause in the car for a second, trying to get a grip of myself.. I was very nervous, and my heart was pumping vigorously.. I took a deep breath, and then got out of the car.
“This is what you wanted.. What you planned.. You cannot back down now.", I reminded myself.
The institution was of only four stories building, was a large glass front and it looked luxurious. I went through the front door which opened automatically, and headed for the receptionist, not to report myself, as no one else did, but to ask about the manager's office. The receptionist was cooperative and gave me precise directions, but I knew I would have to ask again before I reached the office.
The office was on the second floor, at the end of a long hall. I walked the hall, annoyed at the sound of my shoes knocking on the floor! I thought to myself that I would have to use a quieter pair of shoes.. Quieter and less embarrassing. Fortunately, no one seemed to notice me, everyone was busy and had something to do.. That was one thing I liked about hospital, it was the sense of proficiency, which in my opinion is a certain kind of honesty.. I hate people who pretend to be busy and doing something important, but at hospital they are really busy and doing something important.
I stopped someone to ask again about the office, at first he did not want to waste his time with me, but he listened, and sincerely guided me to the office. It is worth mentioning that one attractive thing about me was my voice, and when I spoke people usually listened.. That was why I had recorded a lot of Wikipedia audio files, and had worked for some audio library website when I was younger, but that was an old leaf of my life.
I saw the office with a sign referring to Dr. (Jacob Aiden) and my heart rate must have jumped to 150.. Apparently the (Master your body) course that I had taken had not paid off…
Dr. (Jacob) was an African American physician.. He was confident and trust-worthy, but sometimes he let his emotions to compromise his decisions.. I had seen him only once before that meeting, but I was good in reading people.
I saw him through the glass door.. Obviously he had just arrived because he was unpacking a suit case full of papers. Me standing there was not really a convenient thing so I started knocking, then Dr. (Jacob) looked at me for a moment, and gave me a sign with his hand to come in, a little annoyed.. I knew he had not recognized me.
I stepped in, and of course I almost stumbled upon the carpet, stupidly. I greeted him, blushing:
"Good morning, Dr. (Aiden)"
“Good morning", he replied, in an unfriendly way, and I had to explain myself
"I am Dr. (Azzam), (Mohamed Azzam), the new pharmacist."
"Oh, Dr. (Mohamed), please have a seat."
He was a little friendly then.. We sat down to talk.. I sat down carefully on the chair before his desk, a high one with no arms.. It made me uncomfortable..
“You are supposed to be starting work today, right..", Dr. (Jacob) broke the silence in a moment.
Yes.", I gained some confidence as he smiled at me, and I went on : "
"I was wondering where I should start."
“Oh, yes.. You will be starting with Dr. (Emma), you'll work together for about a week.. Her office is just beside the pharmacy”
Well thanks.", I nodded meaninglessly, then stood up, adding "
“Well I don't wanna keep you, I think I'll start off “
He offered his hand for a shake:
“Pleased to meet you, Dr. (Mohamed), I remember your resume was impressive, and beside that you seem like a good man.. I hope you will be a good addition to our staff.”
"I hope so."
I could almost hear him saying: "I need no trouble!", and I could not blame him :
He let go of my hand, but he still had something to say:
“Have you met anyone here?”
"You'll find everyone here very friendly, you should get along with them easily."
There it came! I assured him:
"I guess I will.. So you said Dr. (Emma)? "
“Yeah, Dr. (Emma Joseph).. Let her firstly explain our new policy of cutting down expenses”
“Cutting down expenses?", It was my first day and I had not started.. it made me wonder if they were welling to sack me already! I demanded:
"Cutting down expenses?"
"Yeah, Dr. (Emma) will explain.."
I did not argue much, I knew it was all about business not treating patients, so I pulled back:
"Ok, thanks for the head ups, have a good day.."
"You too.. "
I moved out of the office careful not to stumble again.. Once I was out, I placed my cold hand on my burning cheeks to cool them down a little..
" This cannot be the way!", I told myself, "You have to calm down.".. It just needed time, and I knew that by the next week it would be better, or I hoped so…
I found no trouble in finding the office by the pharmacy where Dr. (Emma) was supposed to be, but there was no one.. The door was left open and the place was a mess! The desk had a lot of papers on it, and there was another desk with a computer set, some files, and a device which could be a printer or a scanner…
“Hello?”,I stepped in, wondering. That was stupid because obviously there was no one in the office, unless there was a person under the desk!
There was no sign on the door or on the desk referring to Dr. (Emma) so I was not even sure that I was in the right place.. I stood there, not knowing what to do, for a long time, although my watch reported only ten minutes.
Suddenly some lady jumped at my face coming into the office.. She was in a rush that she almost bumped into me.. We stared for a second…
“Yes?", She wondered, holding a paper in her right hand
“Dr. (Emma Joseph)?”
“Yes..”, She answered, stifling laughter
"I am Dr. (Mohamed Azzam), the new pharmacist."
“oh, Dr. (Azzam), nice meeting you...", She smiled, welcoming, but still trying to hold back laughter.. That was inappropriate, and she apologized:
"Sorry, it's just.. The way you said my name.."
"Did I say it wrong?"
”No no.. I liked it.. Listen, I am sorry..", She said, then tried to change the subject
”You came in a critical time..", She said, moving to the desk with the paper in her hand..
"I can see that.."
She checked some forms, then turned to her computer.. I took a few seconds watching her.. She wore a simple blouse and a long skirt, and she had a very curly hair.. Her skin was fair, but she was not white, probably the same color my skin was.. The most characteristic feature about her look was her wide black eyes and sharp chin.. She interrupted my thoughts:
"No you don't get it, we're changing our policy these days concerning medical supply.."
She did not give more explanation..
"You mean cutting down expenses?"
"Oh, you know that.."
"Dr. (Aiden) filled me in.."
“Of course he would bring that up in every occasion.. The CEO was here a week ago and she was really unhappy with our financial position, and since then he has been on us to fix it.. He believes that the pharmacy is the magical word for rebalancing our financial position.. Pharmacy and insurance system..”
“And how is that?", I wondered..
She turned to me smiling, and a bit surprised at how naive I was:
“Alternatives, my dear.. Cheaper alternative medication. We have also so near expire supplies which we will have to include in our treatment program from now on..”
I was not sure if I should express my opinion or not, but anyway the phone ring cut my thoughts off.. (Emma) did not leave her work on the computer, and she exhaled, annoyed.
“I am busy”, she mumbled..
Out of stupidity I volunteered to answer the phone! I picked up:
The speaker was stunned, he did not expect me..
"Dr. (Emma), please.."
"I am sorry, she is very busy at the moment."
"Busy? Well... Ask her what she has done about this week’s order"
I turned to her:
"He wants to know about this week’s order."
She turned to me, grabbing the hand set:
"Give me that.."
She talked impatiently:
“ Hello, (James), yes I'm working on it.. You know I still have a lot to do... No, it's not done yet.. Listen, I'm doing my best, okay? Back off... I'll call you when it's ready, bye..”
She hung up even more annoyed, paused for a while, and I kept silent too, till she talked to me, thinking:
"listen, Dr. (Azzam), why don't you help me with that? We are already behind schedule.."
"Dr. (Emma), I'm all yours.."
I wondered whether it had been appropriate or not, but she let it go..
"And another thing, call me (Emma) and I'll call you (Mohamed), is it okay with you?"
"Works for me.."
She went back to her computer, explaining, halfhearted:
“I'm printing out two papers, you need to compare them..", then she was silent! "That's it?!", I wondered, “I need more explanation!”
"What kind of comparison?"
She did not answer directly, instead she mumbled:
"Here we go.. Print.. Good…"
The device connected to the computer turned out to be a printer as two papers were coming out of it.. (Emma) picked them up and showed them to me:
“List of medical supply requirement, made before the CEO attack, and a list of old warehouse stock.. We need to substitute supplies in the order with those available in the warehouse, you see what I mean? Simvastatin is not a must if we've got atorvastatin, bisoprolol is not a must if we have other beta-blockers, okay?”
I nodded.. That was not hundred percent medically true, but I nodded. I asked her:
“When do you want it?”
She smiled at me:
And so I started, and I was not finished soon…
|identity1104||Jul 18 2012, 08:56 AM Post #2|
Book one chapter two: Twilight
The day was long, too long actually, and work was stressful, but I managed to hold on till the end of my working hours at 3 p.m.
“I can manage eight hours of stress.", I told myself. Eight hours of stress, eight hours of sleeping, and eight hours of fun, that was my idea about a perfect day.
To sum up, I can say that the day was productive. I learned a lot about my new job, and I met Dr. (Emma), who turned out to be a very efficient member there. Too bad she had resigned and she was leaving in a week when I would be taking over. After I had seen what she was capable off, I doubted that I could fit in her seat, but I guessed I could try.
My thoughts drifted away as usual, and when I got my brain back, I discovered that I had driven my car no way near to my apartment, actually I was on a highway penetrating some kind of a desert.
“This can't be North Hollywood!", I told myself, pulling over at the side of the road
I thought for a moment and I figured out that I either had missed the right turn, or maybe I had taken the wrong direction from the start! That is why I had a G.P.S. System in my car.. Although I was no good in using the system to (get there), it always helped me to know (where there was)! I started the system, watching the empty road. In the next minute my heart missed one or two beats as a car roared by me and drove away.. Could I be more susceptible? Would robbing, or even killing, me be easier anywhere else? I drove the car for a short distance away from the main road and into the depth of the desert, so no passing by gang would consider me as a prey.. I was in the middle of nowhere, with the day light about to come to an end.. My cheeks were burning again and I had to find my way back home..
I acquired my exact location by the navigation system, then I had to find the map among the mess on the back seat to determine the way home.. I opened the door and I was met by the cold air, and it felt so good cooling down my skin.. I stood for a moment, moved my head toward the horizon and I was stunned by the scene..
“Could it be more beautiful?", I wondered, staring at the glamorous strings of light far there, in neverland.. The fading sunlight at what must have been the west was ranging from violet to bloody red smoothly.. It was twilight time, no one around but me and the gorgeous painting of nature..
“Oh God..", I whispered, feeling the triviality and insignificance of all my worries and eventually my whole life, and feeling that nothing in the world even mattered..
I stood there, frozen, for I do not know how long. My feet refused to reduce their pressure on the ground, and I could not force them to move until it was dark.. Night fell in an unbelievable speed.. One minute it was day, and the other it was dark.. Alone in the desert…
When my feet became obedient, I brought out the map, still absent minded.. I was thinking that that happened every day and we never took a minute to appreciate it.. Humans are the most ignorant thing I knew…
I watched the map in the flash light of my cellular phone, hoping that the battery would not go low.. After determining my course I turned the phone's light off and went inside the warm car and started the engine.. It is amazing how terrible my sense of direction was, and that was one of the reasons I hated to give anyone a lift, because it would be very embarrassing to lose my way in the presence of audience.. I started the engine and moved back to the main road, and I was lucky I took the right way that time, or else I would get lost in the desert for who knows how long!
I had it right that time and soon I was at my familiar neighborhood.. While driving I was thinking.. Thinking about my day at work. It felt so far from me, like it was not the same day, but rather the day before. It was amazing how the minutes I had spent in the (Twilight Zone) refreshed me, and made me feel like I was starting a new day after eight good hours of sleep.. All the frustration and negative feelings had faded out, still there, but much more further... (Twilight Zone) was the name of an old BBC radio show, I remembered that, smiling…
I reached, finally, my apartment.. I went in, and turned the lights on. I watched for a second the yellow lights and the yellow walls, and mumbled: "Me and these four walls again”.
I changed my clothes, washed up, then prayed. I then realized that I had not eaten for almost two days! I still had the pizza from the day before, but I went to have a look inside the fridge. The fridge was a realm of the apartment that I had not explored yet, and I had no idea what I would find in it. "A corpse!", The idea horrified me, and I was imagining inspector (Sam) breaking in, searching the place, and finding the body! There then would be no trials, I would be directly convicted of "being Arabian of first degree!
Beyond all my expectations, the fridge was empty! I moved back to the pizza on the bed and checked it.. Good, it had not smelled, and I was not in the mood to get back to the street buying some food..
I started with a small slice, it was nicely tasteless, but it would do the trick. I opened my laptop and turned it on, it had been two days and I had not checked my email. I sat back on my bed, waiting for my laptop to start up, the I logged in. I had another slice while start up programs were loading.. Antivirus, audio system, and two chatting programs.. I signed in invisible to everyone, I always did, and checked the thirty contacts that I had.. Three were online, but I did not feel like talking to them, so I signed out.
There were only two contacts on the other instant messenger, two sisters from the States, country girls.. They were offline as usual. I had known them for ten years, but not anymore.. One of them became an actress and a singer, and moved to Hollywood. That one of them became famous they had stopped talking to me.. When we were used to be friends, I had not had a computer because we could not afford one, but I was used to talk to them at some internet cafe near my home.. I had never missed any of their birthdays, even once I had managed to send them a post card. We were used to talk online and we were used to leave each other offline messages, and sometimes recorded videos.. We had always had fun talking, gossiping.. The older one, who is the singer now, was used to call her younger sister (the dorkiest) and we had always laughed about it. Only once I had given them a phone call, that was when their mother had died.. A five minute call but God knows how much it had cost me.. Those days.. The old days..
I opened my audio folder, and started an old song, still lost in my thoughts.. I remembered how they had started gradually ignoring my messages when they had moved to Hollywood with their father.. I remembered the last message I had got from them, it was the younger one, about two months before that time.. I did not even know if they still used that same ID or not.. Pathetic I am..
The older became a heavy metal singer.. It was a trend a few years before but not that much then.. She was with her second boyfriend then, no longer funny, and strange how she had turned from an angel face into a devil face in a few years! Her style then was dark and naughty.
The other one was no longer a kid, but when I saw her face I felt she had lost her innocence, well haven't we all? Quitting was what I had to do, I knew that, and I had tried to do so three or four times, but I was so weak.. Twice I had talked to the singer on a social website, but then I had realized that I had not been really talking to her, but some social manager of her, managing her fans.. I had become just a fan! That had been a sharp stabbing pain, a pain that had lasted for a week with persistent nausea before I had gotten over it…
I closed that program and sighed. The song was still playing.. (Oh yes those were the days, la la la la)... My heart rate was dropping back to my normal, which was 100 per minute..
Still a lot to do.. I picked another slice of the pizza typing the address of a private website, as the day was Monday and some of my online friends were supposed to be having an FM conference there. I logged in using my user name and password, then logged into the conference room, and said hi.. The conference was still at the small talk stage, and a lot of people were not there yet. I decided to give it some time, so I minimized the window, willing to get back to it in half an our..
I then checked my email, tens of useless advertisements and I had to go through them one by one.. It was too late for me to make a new email account..
I could not just divide my time between work and computer that way, and I knew I had to go out some times. That I almost had no friends to go out with, my only option was to join a club and play the sport I loved the most, tennis.. I opened an internet search engine, looking for sports clubs near me.. I found three and wrote down their addresses and phone numbers, then gave each one a call, asking about their exact locations, kinds of sports available, and the required fees.. One of them was relatively close to my apartment and provided both tennis and martial arts training, and the fees were reasonable, so I decided to sign up for it the next afternoon.. I knew life would be a lot easier when I am back to tennis..
I went back to the conference, and found some friends there, one of them was a colleague of mine in an online course with the British Open University, and one I had met on MENSA website, members area..
The conversation was on fire and I was glad I had not missed it. One user was trying to disapprove the value (zero) mathematically, and obviously he was wrong and the other users had no mercy, they tore him apart, and it was a lot of fun!
After that there was a small competition in a strange topic: the weapon destructive the most. Each one suggested a weapon and began to argue why it was the most destructive on in the universe. Some started making weapons ideas up, scanning all kinds of energy. One came up with a horrifying idea of a weapon which he called (STDC), or (Space-Time Continuity Disruptor). He suggested some kind of energy field which could disrupt the space-time fabric, and when we discussed the idea, we realized how destructive it could be to lose our known space-time pattern.. Imagine a place where the next minute is not necessarily the future, and the next step is not necessarily forward…
That was the last interesting part of the conference, then the brain storm cooled down.. People began to log out, and then the conference came to an end..
I rested my head on the pillow, staring at the far flickering lights through the window.. I wondered where the people from the conference were at.. Three of them spoke American, so could they be there in California? “What about the others? Maybe one of them lives in Egypt, maybe even in my own street!”, I thought, wondering who from my neighborhood could be on that website..
My thoughts took me to sleep.. I closed my eyes, just like that, without even brushing my teeth.. Sleep was always a welcome guest as long as I was home, and I was happy that the next day was a new day…
|identity1104||Jul 30 2012, 10:47 PM Post #3|
Chapter three (John Bowen)
Second day at work, and it would not be as hard as the first day. I reached directly for the office next to the pharmacy, (Emma)'s office, and very soon mine. I started with the medication supply order again, I had finished it the day before and (Emma) had sent it to Dr. (Aiden), but obviously he had not liked it. He had sent it back with some notes including more emphasis on the near expiry point. He had not made the changes to the list himself because it was the pharmacy department responsibility and he wanted it to stay so. I changed what seemed reasonable to change, and wrote some recommendation about those changes concerning contraindications and drug-drug interactions.. After all I was a pharmacist and my job was to provide best medical regimen possible, not to save the institution some money..
I was alone in the office, (Emma) was on the ground floor checking some data, but I did not know what it was bout. She had been on her computer, and then suddenly she had frowned, and had said: "This can't be right!", Then she had stood up, had turned to me, then had added: "The data is wrong, I'll have to check physically, you know..".. I did not understand exactly what she had meant, but she had something to do and she had gone to do it, that simple…
My work swallowed me completely for an hour.
“Checking heart condition and medical history of patients is recommended before switching them to potassium chloride infusion", I wrote down. I was also thinking: "Pig's insulin? I didn't even know they still use it!". I wrote down a weak note about possible allergic reactions, but I knew up front what Dr. (Aiden)'s opinion would be: "Who cares about allergic reactions when it comes to saving money?!". Well that was ok, let them do his job and I would do mine…
The list was half way done and I insisted to finish it in an hour, so I was completely into it when, suddenly, some voice made me make a jump:
"You shouldn't take that long!"
I stared at him, touching my chest with my hand to make sure my heart was still there.. He stared back, challenging.. It it was a mid-forties man, with glasses not hiding his blue eyes.. His face was reddish white with chubby cheeks, and he had straw yellow hair, silky and wavy.. As a whole he looked to me like a political analyst on a TV show. The most characteristic feature about his face was the smile in his eyes, a persistent sardonic smile…
”You really shouldn't!", He repeated as I stared like an idiot. I swallowed and said:
"I'm doing my best."
“ Oh, why didn't you say so? I'm so sorry! I'll just go to the patients and tell them not to worry, and ask them to do their best to stay alive till you're finally done..”
He was mocking me! I did not even know who he was, so I tried to get a grip:
"Excuse me, and you are…?"
He stared for a moment, then he apologized, offering me his hand to shake:
"Oh, I'm sorry! I'm Dr. (Ariel), (Noam Ariel), chronic diseases department.."
My expression flickered for a second, I was against Zionists, not Jews
" “Dr. (Mohamed Azzam), pleased to meet you", I shook hands with him..
He looked at me strangely.. Actually it was very hard for me in my first week with him to decide whether he was showing genuine emotions or just playing me.. He wondered:
"Pleased to meet you?!"
He paused for three seconds and I did not know what to say
“That's all you've got to say?", He added
“I'm telling you my name is (Noam Ariel) and you say pleased to meet you? Seriously! Your name is Mohamed..”
”So?", I shrugged
”So?! Shouldn't you be cutting my throat right now? Or you're waiting for the bomb to be ready?”
I started boiling from the inside.. I had not said a word and he insisted on bringing up troubles.. That was more than I could handle.. While I was stifling my anger, with the words totally lost, he was watching me in amusement with a smile in his eyes. Actually he was waiting for me to explode..
“I.. You..", I stumbled
"I.. You! Great choice of words!"
The next second (Emma) walked in and saved me. She looked at Dr. (Ariel) and said, carelessly:
"Hey, (John), I see you've met the new kid in town.."
?(John)? Who was (John)
The so called (John), or (Ariel), made a strange face at that point just as if he had licked a lemon! He clinched his teeth and closed one eye.. I turned to him:
I did not go on, feeling, like always then, stupid... (Emma) did not notice the tension in the air so she just assumed that we had not met yet.
“Oh, (John), this is Dr. (Mohamed Azzam), (Mohamed), this is Dr. (John Bowen)..", she introduced us.
“Your name is (John)?!", I finally found the words, but he stared at me, stunned, like I had said something very inappropriate, and he put his hand on his pocket, like if he wanted to show me something:
"Wanna see some ID?"
I blushed in anger and embarrassment.. That was humiliating.. I looked down, reminding myself that the best strategy for me was: let go..
Fortunately, the conversation took a different turn as I heard that (John), after he was done with me, talking to (Emma) in a lower voice:
" (Emma), I need to talk to you"
"There's no talking between us, sweetheart!"
Ouch! That cooled me down so much! (Emma) was giving him a frozen shoulder, I wondered why..
(John) did not give up:
" “Listen, we don't have to go so far..
He paused.. i was holding my sight on some medication stock list but I was totally taken by the conversation... As (Emma) kept silent, (John) talked again:
"Just five minutes, in the hospital... You owe me that.."
“I don't owe you anything!", (Emma) snapped.
I raised my eyes toward them, just to find (John)'s eyes fixed on me, assessing my expression..
"Easy now, (Donny).. "
I stared back.. His gaze was very powerful, but I managed to attack:
"Who? Who is (Donny)?"
(Emma) felt the tension, so she grabbed (John) by the hand:
“Come on, let's talk outside..", she said .
(John) gave me a look, then left with (Emma).. I knew two things.. Firstly, there was some story between (Emma) and that (John), a deep one.. Secondly that man, (John Bowen), was going to make my working hours sort of hell! Work tension was bearable, but I could not deal with a man picking on me like that, especially a handsome brilliant physician with smart come backs... "Arrgh!", He was making me miserable!
Of course that five minute incidence prevented me from focusing on my paper work.. I tried and tried, but there was no use, and at last I gave up.. It was very sad how I allowed others to control my emotions, and even sadder that I allowed my emotions to affect my work.. As a conclusion, I was pathetic! I then repeated it out loud!
Suddenly the phone rang:
“Hello?", I answered.
"Hey, honey voice.."
"Hey, (James), what's up?"
"You know what's up! We’re running out of medication!"
"I'm working on it, it's almost done.. I'll hand it to Dr. (Aiden) first thing in the morning.."
"Well you were supposed to do so this morning dear.."
"I know, and I did, you know? But Dr. (Aiden) didn't like it, so I'm going over it again.."
"Ok, just hurry up, you know how it is.."
"Don't worry, I'll finish it today I promise.."
"Cool.. Would I see you at lunch?"
"I don't think so, I'll ne working on your list, happy?"
"Thanks man.. Listen, tomorrow lunch is on me, okay? I wanna add a face to this voice.."
"It's better this way, believe me.."
I heard him laughing, and then he hung up..
I liked talking through the phone, and I hoped I would find a profession which was phone-based only…
I sat back, trying to relax.. i was grateful that (James) called me as he had taken my mind off (John) a little.. "What should I do now? The list? No, please!".. I knew I promised (James) to finish it, but I would have time to do just before I went home as it was almost over, just needed another fifteen minutes of concentration which was the thing I was in shortage of then.. After a moment I decided to have a walk around, as I was probably the only one who spent his working hours inside his office..
I went out of the office, and walked toward the pharmacy. There were two women, one was an African-American in her forties, somehow overweight, and the other was a little paler, and a little younger.. The younger one did not work for the pharmacy, but they were friends and they would rather spend time together, gossip talking, I guessed..
When they saw me they gave me a look.. Well, not much of respect, and the first one mumbled something to her friend.. A smile would have fixed the situation but I did not find it easy to do so, as I almost knew what she had said, it was something like: "Here's Mr. Know it all!”
I moved away from the pharmacy, deciding it was not the best place to hang around.. It was a shame as I was the pharmacist and I would have to deal with them sooner or later.. Anyway, I chose later..
I reached for the patients' rooms` and wandered there.. I entered a room where there was an old male patient with grey hair.. I greeted him, smiling, with my eyes on the clipboard at the bed.
"Hi, how are you doing?"
"Not so good, the pain is back again.."
I busied myself, reading the diagnosis and the dose regimen..
"Don't worry, you'll be fine.."
He did not reply, and I walked out.. I thought it was not a very bad idea for killing time there, but I knew I was wrong once I stepped in the second room..
The room was identical to the previous one, except that there was someone on a chair beside the sleeping patient.. The part that made me wish I had not picked that room was the identity of the person on the chair.. As he turned his face toward me, I recognized not less than Dr. (John Bowen) himself!
He gazed for a few seconds, then turned back to the patient, leaning his chin on his fist.. I wanted to yell at him as my fury came back and struck me once I saw him.. I wanted to yell, even wanted to take a swing at him, but something stopped me.. There was something in his eyes, was it sadness? I stood there for a few seconds till the pieces of the puzzle fell into place..
“Do you know him?", I asked, referring to the patient on the bed. A while of silence, then (John) turned to me, saying in his ever sour voice:
"Barely.. He was just my brother!"
I felt sympathy, but I did not know what to say... The grief in his eyes made me feel somehow guilty..
“Last stages... Maybe he's got just a few hours... Cancer cells are everywhere now..", He said, with a deep sigh.
“This sucks!" i told myself, thinking maybe that was why... Wait a second! I looked at the patient and the monitor beside him, then sat my eyes on the prognosis paper and read it, unbelieving..
I looked at (John) to meet his eyes, examining my reaction in amusement.. I held the board in my hand, and hissed through my teeth:
“Oh, did I say cancer? Sorry, I meant.. Tonsillitis... Very serious tonsillitis.. The cancer patient is in the other room, and he's not actually my brother cause I don't know him!”
"What kind of an idiot you think I am?"
“A fifteen second idiot.. To be honest with you, you were that close to Moran-zone, but you didn't make it!”
I glowered, disgusted, while he was still watching, waiting for my reaction.. I could not take it, and I threw the board down to the floor loudly, then turned back.. I left the room, fuming…
|identity1104||Aug 21 2012, 11:32 AM Post #4|
Book 1 Chapter 4 TENNIS
It was a mistake from my side at the beginning of the day to judge that the day was going to be an easy day. I remembered, while driving my car along the main road in the late afternoon, how I had thought that the day was going to be a better day, but obviously I had been wrong..
Many thanks to Dr. (John Bowen), and to my unstable temper, the day was disastrous! (John) made me a real jerk, at least in front of myself.. The worst part was that it was not over.. With my misbehavior that day, a I threw the board down into the floor, it would not surprise me if I went to work the next day and Dr. (Aiden) called me to his office and.. "Would it really happen? Could my career end before it starts? Even if that incident went away without consequences, what about the next one, and the next one? And the one after that?! (John) will keep pressing my buttons again and again till I slip once.. Just once, that's all it will take... So unless one of us quits or dies, I guess my days here will be countable”!
(John Bowen)... The name cut me like a knife.. His name drove me crazy.. I tried to focus on other things.. Cheerful things.. But unfortunately I could not find any.. The fact that I was on my way to the club to play my favorite sport was not good enough, so I had to focus only on the road..
I was not very fond of the principle that stated that the shortest path between two points is the straight line.. The club was not very far from the hospital, and on the map it was estimated to take only twenty- thirty minutes to get from there to there, but not for me.. The straightway involved many unpleasant features, like obligatory turns, traffic jams, and one way roads.. Things I did not understand and was not capable of dealing with, so I followed another approach.. I went to the main road, then drove to the nearest exit that could take me to my destination, just like that.. Sometimes it was time consuming, but it guaranteed me there would not be any troubles, and that my car speed was never down forty.. That way I called the go- drive- come way, and it suited me…
I checked the distance I had made on that road.. "Any minute now the exit will show up.".. I looked around.. The silence was heavy, maybe scary.. Except for the roaring of the car engine my ear drums felt the tension of silence, intensified by the fact that I was alone on the road, and that the sun was sinking in the horizon.. It was not the sun I used to know.. It was different.. Larger than usual.. Bloody red.. It was twilight again! I slowed down and made a right turn out of the road to nowhere.. I pulled over ten meters away from the road and killed the engine, thrilled.. I was there again.. The very same place and the very same time, in that peaceful gap in the universe.. I sighed, watching long shadows of small rocks and sand piles around me.. "Here I settle.. Here I forget.. Here I get ready to go”..
It was not long before dark, maybe ten minutes or so, but it left me in a total different shape.. I felt stupid for worrying myself over some bugs at work.. (John) was a jerk, so what? He was not the first one and he would not be the last one.. And the fantastic fact that every day is a new day makes it unnecessary for you to drag yesterday's burdens around with you.. Just start free..
I started the engine again and waited for a minute before I started driving.. While waiting for the car to warm up, I leaned over the back of my seat looking for something on the back seats.. "Oh, here it is".. I held the DVD box in my hand, took out one DVD, put it in the DVD player and hit play.. In a few seconds the music started, and I drove back to the main road, then headed to the club, listening, and recalling memories.. The lonely shepherd, that was my favorite since I was a child..
It took me an hour to reach my destination, mostly because I took a wrong turn twice, but finally I managed to be there.. It was a big club, I liked that, but I hated the dark areas between adjacent playgrounds.. Well, it looked somehow like my neighborhood..
I registered for the night daily package, so I was free to invite myself every day after 6 p.m., I also signed up for tennis and martial arts so I had the right to use a coach for each sport.. Knowing that tennis was not so popular here, I had been lucky to find that club..
I did not feel like fighting so I decided to start with tennis.. At the court I found no one! I did not know whether it was because people preferred to play earlier, or because it was a little cold.. Anyway I looked around till I found a janitor and asked him about the coach.. I was lucky that he knew what I was talking about, and he told me how to find him..
”Try the cafeteria, ask about (Joseph)", he said, dismissively..
I went back to where I registered as I remembered seeing the cafeteria over there.. On my way I was thinking, annoyed:
“What should I tell the coach when I find him? Excuse me, I want to play tennis, so leave your drink and get off your butt and do your job!? Ok, this is really awkward and I wish I could avoid it.. Why could not he just stick to his working place and save me the trouble?”
After two spins around I found the cafeteria... Yellow lights again! I hated yellow lights! The cafeteria was almost empty, with only three tables occupied and one waiter.. "Who am I looking for again? (James) or (Joseph) or... Arrgh! I forgot!”
There was a lonely man on a table, and a couple sipping orange juice.. "Oh God, let it be the lonely man..”!
I headed toward the waiter…
“Excuse me..", I said in a low voice.. He looked at me
"The coach.. The tennis coach is here?"
I followed his finger pointing at some table.. "Oh great!", It was the man with the girl! I swallowed loudly and wondered again:
"You mean the man over there with the lady?"
"That's where my pointer goes…"
I stared for a moment, hesitated.. A blonde man in a training suit with a blonde young lady.. He was older but they seemed like a couple somehow, and I knew I would not be welcomed..
Suddenly the lady met my gaze.. Obviously she had noticed me staring impolitely at them so she turned her piercing eyes toward me.. Her eyes were very light blue, almost colorless, but that was not a suitable time for physiognomy…
I stumbled my way toward them, cleaning my throat... The man noticed the lady's silence and followed her gaze to stare at me too.. His eyes were tired and of the same color of hers..
”Hey", I said, embarrassed
“Hey", the man answered me. When he talked, an Adam apple in his muscular neck moved up and down..
"Sorry, I'm.. I want to play tennis.."
They both frowned at me and I blushed, not knowing what to say next..
”Well, if it's not a suitable time, we may...", I said, but she interrupted me:
"Actually it really isn't a suitable time.."
The coach saved me:
”Honey, this is my job..", He sighed, then he asked, politely:
"You signed up for the sport?"
"Yeah, they told me I might use a coach.."
I choked at the end of the inappropriate sentence.. The coach nodded in silence, then stood up, saying:
I could see then how tall he was, tall and well-built.. And his tired eyes.. I loved tired eyes and I did not know why..
”Come with us, it would be fun..", He talked to the lady as she was getting up too..
She was a little shorter than him, but still tall..
We walked together back to the court, silent.. The dark was not scary anymore with company.. After a moment of the silence the coach offered me his hand to shake:
"I'm (William Joseph)… "
"Oh, (Mohamed Azzam)"
"Nice meeting you, you can call me (Willy).."
I stopped myself before I say something stupid like: You can call me Momo or something! He went on:
"This is (Isabella Jackson), our brilliant tennis champion.."
She did not say a thing, and I did not either.. She was not as friendly as he was, not even close..
We reached an empty court..
”Where's your pack?", (William) wondered..
"My pack? Well I don't have one.."
”Oh!", he said, looking at my shoes!
”Oh, how stupid! I can't play with these shoes on!", I thought..
(Isabella) rolled her eyes, mumbling:
”Sorry, I forgot to...", I apologized.. I did not finish the sentence, just blushed like a tomato fruit.. (William) mused for a moment, then he turned to (Isabella)..
”They have rental shoes, don't they?", He asked her..
Another moment of silence, then she said, sarcastically:
"You could lend him a pair of yours, but it wouldn't fit.."
She was pointing at a bag by the umpire stand... How could I forget something like that? Then dragged them to the court and... That was bad!
(William)'s face was still blank when he asked:
"Then what do you say? Maybe another time?"
And I could not argue..
|identity1104||Oct 13 2012, 10:04 AM Post #5|
Book one Chapter 5 (A CONFLICT)
After finishing and saving the file I made a copy and sent it to the desktop so (Emma) would be able to review it later… I leaned back and sighed in relief.. Finally my work was done, and hopefully I would not have to go over that again.. They had told me that the routine orders were made by the assistant at the pharmacy, and checked automatically by some kind of consumption predictor software or something like that…
I was in the office, alone.. (Emma) was at the upper floor with some ICU doctors discussing some critical case.. From what I had heard, It was a 52 years old male with poor kidney and liver functions, and undergoing some unknown drug-drug interaction, so his doctor needed some additional opinion… I thought for a while.. (Emma) was very efficient and everybody there seemed to trust her medical opinion, and in two days I was supposed to fill in her place… Just two days.. The idea horrified me! In two days all of that would be my responsibility… I mean, I was trained to do that, and I have the essential knowledge, but that was not all what it took, and I was afraid I would not be up to it! Two days in which I was supposed to learn every detail Dr. (Emma) handled.. I thought I would have to shadow her starting from then, not wasting a minute..
The voice at the door startled me.. It was (John), as if I needed an additional dose of annoying.. He was at the door step, greeting me with his red face and ever sarcastic eyes..
“(Emma) is not here?”, he asked.. I wanted to mock his stupid question but I couldn`t, I just wanted him to leave..
“No, she isn`t”..
“Oh.. Obviously.. Well.. Bye bye then..”
He left and I exhaled.. Maybe it was not that bad.. I thought maybe he only picked on new people, and as I got older there, I didn`t get much of his attention..
Suddenly he was back! He leaned to the door frame, studying my expression as if he knew what I was thinking… He spoke again:
“Oh, by the way..”
He threw something to me, and I held it against my chest.. He asses:
“Thanks for the ride..”
And he left while I examined the thing.. A key.. A car key.. It was not even any car key, it was MY car key! I stared, unbelieving, then I checked my pocket for the key, but it was empty. I checked the desk.. Nothing.. And what did he mean by: “thanks for the ride”? Had he used my car? “Oh my God, he took the keys off the desk and used my car! That`s stealing! No… That`s it!”
I snapped up in fury, and headed toward the corridor to have a word with that (John).. He had crossed the line and I felt like I could kill him right then!
He was not very far, he was a few doors down the corridor.. He was just stepping inside a room when he saw me coming in anger.. He waited there, staring at me in amusement as I was closing in like a bull! A very tiny baby bull of course! There was a cautious smile on his face..
When I was two meters away, He opened his jacket up to show me something attached to his belt at the left side.. I stood against him, not knowing what to do, but I looked at that black piece on his belt… I exclaimed, still furious:
“What is that? A gun?! Are you threatening me?!”
He raised his eye brows in fake disapproval:
“What?! Nooo! Nooo…”, he said, then he met my gaze, and gave up..
“Yeah, I am threatening you..”
“That`s it! I`m pressing charges against you!”
“As well you should, but you have to know that they will never, never testify against me!”
“Who are they?”
He stared at me in disbelief, like I was missing the obvious:
“The walls! These are your witnesses, right?”, he answered, waving his hands..
I gridded my teeth, staring at him, clinching my hands into fists… I was thinking that unless something happened then I was going to beat him up and end my career, or If I was lucky enough I would have a stroke and die…
After two long seconds, (John) suddenly moved into a room, grabbed the prognosis clipboard off the patient`s bed, and went back offering it to me… I stared..
“Take this.. Don`t be a wimp this time and throw it down.. Just hit me, come on.. Are you a coward?”, he explained.. He was trying to talk me into getting myself fired or even worse.. He kept pushing..
“What?! I thought you were a man, not a weasel!”
I decided to play it cool.. Of course that was almost impossible, but at least I could take as little action as I could… I held the clipboard and stared at the table on it.. Just staring… Imagining myself cutting his throat with its edge, then imagining stabbing him with its corner… He was still examining me like an animal behind bars… I felt it.. I was being steadily humiliated! As my eyes went down to the dose regimen I felt a sting inside my nose.. What was that? It was tears, not yet enough to fill my eyes but still reached my nose…
I wanted to talk.. I wanted to ask him why he hated me, and why we could not be just friends, but I was afraid I would choke, and that my tears might betray me… I just stared at the papers in silence…
Numbers always made sense to me, that was why, from the depth of my own hell, I noticed that the patient`s last medicine dose had not been delivered yet, although it had been scheduled for the previous hour… I stared for a moment, then mumbled:
“They haven`t given him his medication yet…”
I still did not look up, and he did not talk, just kept watching me… Finally I offered him the clipboard, adding:
“His antibiotic dose is an hour late…”
He did not take the board, and his gaze kept burning me..
“And what are you gonna do about that?”, he said after a while..
I felt relief that the conversation has taken another turn.. Pathetic! I followed him to give him a piece of my mind, and then I was backing down! Great!
I tried to escape my thoughts:
“I guess I`ll talk to the nurses..”
It was a question more than a suggestion.. He answered immediately:
“This is always choice B.. Do you have the power to talk nurses down? I don`t think so! I mean, look at me, I can scare the hell out of them, but you…”
He trailed off, but meanings were clear… I mused for seconds, then suggested:
“Then report to Dr. (Emma)..”
His face expression flickered for a very short moment, but it was not long enough for me to detect what kind of feelings he had got for her.. He then wrapped his arm around my shoulders, and preached me, pointing at the patient`s rooms:
“Son, soon all of this will be yours.. You have to fight your wars yourself…”
He thought I came to hospital for fighting!
“Then, Dr. (Mohamed), what are you gonna do?”, he added…
“What`s choice A?”
“Not to care! It`s not your job to make the sure medicine is delivered to the patient correctly, it`s the nurses job, and if they screw up it`s not your business.. No one would blame you, maybe no one would ever notice at all....”
I thought about it… I could not let the patient develop septicemia just because it was not a part of my job description!
“I guess I`ll talk to the nurses..”
He pointed at the pharmacy:
“Be my guest!”
I walked toward the pharmacy with the clipboard, and (John) followed.. I hated conflicts, but there was no way back..
The African American assistant was there, but not the nurse, although I knew she was used to hang around there a lot when not working… As we reached the pharmacy, she gave me that disrespectful look.. She hated me.. I ignored that, and greeted:
She ignored me, and answered a non-said greeting from (John):
“Good morning, Dr. (Bowen)..”
I would not be able to go on if (John) was not there..
“This patient was supposed to have an injection in his IV line an hour ago…”
“(Bella) is not here…”, she said, carelessly..
I turned to (John) for back up, but he let me down.. He reached to his mouth with his hand and zipped an imaginary zipper… I was on my own..
“Well, when will she be back?”, I asked, impatiently..
“When she`s back, she`s back!”
I exhaled.. What could I do with her? Then I decided to do it myself:
“Alright, then give me one gram amoxicillin..”
“Negative..”, she shook her head..
“What?! What do you mean?!”
“Isabella receives the whole round altogether…”
“Then give me the vial, and exclude it from her next round…”
“Not possible, dear, it`s against the protocol!”
She was pissing me off! And I could see (John) watching me, enjoying every second.. That was why he came with me, he did not want to miss the show!
“Listen, you can`t just let the patient die because of stupid routine and because the nurse in charge is unreliable..”
That was sharp, but paid off actually.. The assistant took a look, then said:
“No one dies from an hour delay of his antibiotic dose, right Dr. (John)?”
“Oh, yeah, actually she is right..”, he answered, looking at me.. I replied, sharply:
“And what happened to the zipper on your mouth?!”
Then turned back to her without waiting for his reaction:
“Listen, you don`t know that patient case, or whether he is gonna die or not, but you know what? If he dies because of any reason, even a heart attack, they`ll look for someone to take the blame.. They`ll say you screwed up and that`s why we lost the patient!”
She stared at me for a second, then brought me what I asked for.. The vial, the syringe, the water and everything…
“Bella won`t be happy..”, she mumbled..
“Really? If she`s unhappy about it, send her to me and we`ll have a talk at (Aiden)`s, thank you!”
I took my stuff and moved to the patient`s room.. I moved fast to let the air cool down my burning face.. I heard (John) at the pharmacy still, commenting:
“Wow! That was something!”
I was nervous.. Shaking.. But I managed to dissolve the powder.. I kept shaking the vial.. I did not want to screw it up myself…
It was nice to say what you had in mind and express your anger.. It was nice to feel powerful.. But the truth was: I could not release my anger with (John), so I took it on someone weaker, someone who could not fight back.. If that proved anything it just proved that I was pathetic.. Again!
I felt (John) at the door.. He did not want to leave me.. What was his problem? Didn`t he have some work to do?
“Why did you do that?”, he talked after a few seconds, thoughtfully..
“I learned from you..”
Another moment of silence.. I was injecting the drug.. (John) talked again in what seemed like a sincere tone:
“If he`s allergic, you`ll be in big trouble..”
My heart missed a beat at the idea..
“Thanks for the heads up!”, I answered without looking at him..
I finished the job, and stood there watching his heart beats on the monitor.. Still the same rate, no change.. That was good..
(John) came and stood by me… Both of us were standing in front of the monitor, staring in silence..
He talked after a minute:
“By the way, I didn`t steal your key..”
I did not answer.. I thought he was playing me again, but he added:
“Seriously, check the hole in your left pocket!”
What? I could not resist.. I shoved my hand into my left pocket, where I usually keep the car key, and there really was a hole in there… A hole big enough to let the key through, till someone found it and generously brought it back!
I turned to him… Why didn`t he say anything? He was actually saving me the troubles! He met my gaze for a second, the, playfully, put his hand on his chest where the heart is supposed to be, and said, faking pain:
“Oh, God.. I`m hurt.. You hurt me!”
I turned to face him, wondering if he was serious and if I should apologize, but he then smiled at me, showing me he was kidding… I frowned at that, then a smile found its way to my face.. We smiled at each other in a rare moment, then we both stared back at the monitor!
After that, he offered me his hand to shake:
“Dr. (John Bowen), pleased to meet you..”
I stared for a second, then shook hands with him:
“Dr. (Mohamed Azzam), pleased to meet you, too!”
He nodded, then left in silence…
|identity1104||Oct 18 2012, 07:22 AM Post #6|
Book 2 Chapter 1 IN CHARGE
The last day of work for Dr. (Emma)..
I thought it would a special day somehow.. I mean, a cake with some candles maybe.. Any kind of best wishes party, but no.. Just a regular day..
I came to the office in the morning to find her already there, just like everyday, working on the computer.. Her desk was clear, it meant she had showed up even earlier that day.. Well, that was impressive…
I greeted her, casually, taking my jacket off.. It was a little cold and I had to wear a jacket that morning..
“What`s up?”, I gestured at the computer, asking about what she was doing..
"Not much, I am just loading the reference files to the network.. Wanna see how?”, she answered, not looking at me..
I moved closer to watch the screen from over her shoulder.. That was one thing (Emma) could do and I had no idea about.. I wondered how many other things I would discover that I did not know about either after she was gone, and whom I would ask.. Would (John) help me? Was he really done with torturing me?
“Oh, by the way”, (Emma) said.. “In case you ever have to do this work again, you`ll have to create your excel sheet using office 2003 not 2007, ok? Not all computers here have the 2007 version..”
What did that mean? They could not use the file? After all the efforts I had put into it?
“Oh! Then what?”
She answered, but I could hear a smile throughout her sentence:
“Don`t worry, I am not telling you to start it all over.. I`ve already taken care of it… It`s just a hint for the future…”
Really thanks Dr. (Emma).. Your last day and still taking care of my mistakes… I think I`m gonna miss you…”, I thought to myself..
I was so close to her then that I could smell the perfume she was wearing.. I checked her hands, no rings.. She was not married or engaged…
Once I realized my thoughts had taken that direction, I flinched back, startled.. (Emma) felt the jerk, and wondered:
“No, hmm, just… I see you`ve cleared your desk..”
I managed to divert.. That was good…
A while of silence.. Only the sound of the keyboard as (Emma) his it.. I knew that might be the last time I talked to her, so I had to ask her the question that had been on my mind.. It was not my business, but it was worth the try…
“Would you mind if I ask you a question?”
I paused, but she did not answer directly.. Maybe she was too busy, or maybe she just ignored me, but I was not willing to give up that easy..
“Why are you leaving?”
“If I don’t leave, you won`t get the job my friend!”, she answered, smiling..
“I know that, but I am still wondering..”
She left the computer and turned to me.. She stared at me, thoughtfully, but I met her gaze with ease.. Totally different from (John)`s staring down…
“I`m moving..”, she said after a while
I guess what she really meant was “Mind your own business”.. I should have backed down, but I just did not know when to stop.. I kept pushing:
“Moving away? Like another state?”
She kept staring for another moment, then she decided to answer:
The look on her face was saying: “Any other questions?”.. I watched her face… Her wide black eyes reminded me of mice eyes! Not so romantic, but that was what I felt…
I could not stop the interrogation... The simple question-answer model I used to use was kind of aggressive and made people get defensive, but I knew no other ways! The enquiries came out of my mouth like a legal prosecution process..
I tried to tune it down a little:
“But, Dr. (Emma), you have a successful career here and everybody loves you.. Why would you leave that? Somebody`s been bothering you?”
I was referring to Dr. (John Bowen) with my last question.. I trailed off and she did not respond.. She kept searching my face with her mouse black eyes.. It felt awkward and I knew if it was not for my appealing voice she would not have been that patient with me…
“Of course I`d wish you good luck if you were getting a better job offer..”, I added after a few seconds..
I guess in her silence she was trying to decide whether to shut me out or not, but finally she spoke again:
“Actually I`m not getting another offer, but.. Let`s just say it`s a thing that I have to do, and you don`t need to worry about me..”
Ok, she was doing it nice and easy, I had been so curious that I deserved a harsher way, so thanks..
I nodded at her answer:
She smiled at me as I blushed a little, then she stood up, wondering:
“Are you ok? You look all nervous..”
I swallowed loudly.. I could not tell her that I was afraid.. Afraid of the responsibility..
“I just can`t help myself thinking that Dr. (Bowen) is the reason behind you leaving..”, I answered.
She slightly frowned as I said that, and tightened her lips.. My guess was that the answer was yes, and I dared to give a wild guess that he was her ex-husband and that was why they had got issues..
She interrupted my thoughts, trying to sound careless:
“He`s just an ass, that`s all!”
I raised my eye brows at her use of words.. Ass?! The I frowned myself.. “I was right! He`s pushing her away.. He`s been doing so from the start!”, I thought..
“It`s a good thing I won`t see him today…”, (Emma) went on..
“Why? He didn`t come to work?”
“No, it`s just he has many surgeries today.. I think he won`t be free before lunch, by then I would be gone…”
I was bewildered..
“But he… He told me he worked for chronic disease department!”
“He lied! Does it surprise you?”, she smiled, sarcastically..
I gridded my teeth.. I hated when people lied to me.. Deceived me.. It`s a dirty way for saying: You are an idiot! And the worst part was: Why! He hadn`t had to lie to me about his work , then why had he done that? Enjoying playing the moron in front of him: me!
(Emma) tried to help me relax, worried as I did not answer:
“Listen, don`t let him get to you.. Just ignore him and don`t drift with his current, ok? Or you`ll end up in a very unfavorable situation.. I`m telling you..”
“In a very unfavorable situation?! You mean like beating him up and getting fired?”
“That`s exactly what I`m talking about.. It won`t be the first time..”
“You mean this happened before?”
She stared at me, a little absent-minded, like she was recalling something in her mind..
“You know? You remind me of him..”, she finally spoke..
“He looked exactly like you… He was a Middle Eastern.. His name was (Mohamed) too.. I think he was from Morocco..”
“Moroccan and looked exactly like me!”, I thought, “I bet we all look alike to her, and he probably did not look like me at all!”
“What happened?”, I wondered..
“Well.. That was a few years ago and I was new here, but (John) was already a certified surgeon.. (John) was a jerk with the new kid and pushed him till he snapped.. That`s pretty much it..”
I choked the words out as I felt my career was on the stake:
“He.. He was a pharmacist?”
“No, a physician.. I don`t remember what was his specialty, but I remember the day he beat (John) up.. He had hot blood, like you..”
I had hot blood! That was news to me..
“And he got fired…”
“What do you think? Not only that, actually he got his license suspended.. (John) spent a day in the hospital but he got what he wanted.. He ruined his life…”
I stared at nowhere.. I wanted to swallow except my throat was so dry.. I was nervous, I was a little afraid, and I was angry that I was nervous..
“Listen”, she said, “I don`t want you to be upset.. I`m just telling you so you`d be more careful, ok? Just let go, don`t get down to (John)`s level or you`ll end up with flees… It`s not important as long as it`s not about work…”
She waited for me to react, but I was lost…
“Come on, cheer up.. I don`t wanna remember you with this look on your face…”
I looked at her, smiling, bitterly:
“So this is goodbye?”
“I`m afraid so..”
She shook hands with me.. I wondered:
“Yes, I`m gonna see Dr. (Aiden) firstly, then poof…”
She took her purse in front of my shocked eyes..
“Well, you`re the chief now… Maybe I would see you again…”, she said..
And then she left…
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