He could not see her, how good she looked, but he would have appreciated it, I am sure.
The machines beeped and rang and whooshed all around. Everything was moving except for him. He lay so very still, barely breathing.
“Sam, I have to go. I can’t do it. I can’t be the woman who helps you get through all of this.” She sniffed, dabbing at a tear stained cheek with a crumpled up tissue.
I tried not to stare.
Still, I could not take my eyes off of them. It just seemed so wrong. I could have been her, given other circumstances.
She sensed it and looked over, fixing me in her gaze. I coughed uncomfortably, looking down at the patient chart. Quickly, I flipped to the orders section and started scribbling.
“Good-bye.” She gave his limp hand a final squeeze and then was gone.
The doors to ICU eased shut behind her with a soft thump.
He sat up.
“Pssst!” He whispered at me. “Is she gone?”
I checked the video monitor to be sure. There she was walking away. No looking back. “Yeah…. She’s gone.”
“Thanks! I owe you…” He untaped the fake IV, unwrapped the gauze turban around his head, and pulled off the hospital gown. Thankfully, he still had on pants underneath.
“That is the last time I help you break up with a girlfriend, Sam. I swear.”
He laughed, then started buttoning up his blue and white striped dress shirt.
A pager went off.
“Yours or mine?” He asked.
He sighed, holding out his hand. I slapped the cold, black thing into his open palm. He finished tying the yellow tie, then shrugged into his brown corduroy sports coat. A quick check of his hair in the reflection off the paper towel holder by the sink and he was off to his next conquest.
“You’re a piece of shit, you know.”
“Yeah, yeah. Merry Christmas,” he called out over his shoulder as he walked past.
He was so damn handsome.
It could have been me…