Daily Dialogue: A Nurse’s Baggage

Two women wander the chaos of my mind for 40 minutes a day and tell me what they say.

Brittany
Can I sit here?

Elvira
Sure. Looks like you’ve had a long day.

Brittany
Is it that obvious?

Elvira
Honest opinion?

Brittany
Strangers are best at giving those.

Elvira
You look fifty.

Brittany
Maybe not that honest.

Elvira
I’m sorry.

Brittany
Ah, don’t be. Monkey paw, right?

Elvira
Heh. Right. I’m Elvira, and the train’s late.

Brittany
I’m Brittany, and not surprised.

Elvira
Where are you coming from?

Brittany
Work. I’m a nurse at the hospital around the corner.

Elvira
So it was a very long day.

Brittany
Like a piece of string. How about you?

Elvira
My boyfriend’s house. We saw each other for the first time in a few weeks last night, so it was a short day.

Brittany
Oh, I’m sorry.

Elvira
Huh?

Brittany
You know, foreplay takes care of a lot that a pill would.

Elvira
What are you… Oh! Oh, it wasn’t a short day like that. It was short because it was so… good.

Brittany
Oh. Well, good for you.

Elvira
I’ll try to remember that when I have to walk the steps up to my apartment. Time-apart sex gets rough at times.

Brittany
You should get him to take it easy.

Elvira
Heh. I was on top most of the time.

Brittany
Yee-haw.

Elvira
Oh fuck, I think I actually said that once. Ugh. Sex makes people stupid sometimes.

Brittany
One time, a patient came in who had a smartphone stuck inside her.

Elvira
What?!

Brittany
Truth.

Elvira
How desperate was she?

Brittany
She was just a curious teenager.

Elvira
I’ve been curious, but I’ve never been THAT curious. How’d you get it out?

Brittany
Very carefully. Very, very carefully.

Elvira
Hope she didn’t butt-dial anyone. Eww! Ok, change of subject. Wait. Was she part of your long day?

Brittany
No, that happened months ago.

Elvira
What made your day long? Wow, that train still isn’t here yet.

Brittany
It’s a wizard train.

Elvira
How do you mean.

Brittany
It’s never late or early, it arrives when it means to.

Elvira
Sounds like you like your fantasy tales. But I wanna hear about your day.

Brittany
It wasn’t so bad, except for one patient.

Elvira
Was she a bitch? I hate bitches.

Brittany
I get some pretty bad ones, but she wasn’t one.

Elvira
What was her deal?

Brittany
She had a head wound from falling at work and a sore chest.

Elvira
Was it messy?

Brittany
No, it was a cut about an inch long over an eyebrow. We cleaned it and glued it shut since she didn’t need stitches, but it was too deep for a bandage.

Elvira
You can use glue?

Brittany
Special glue. It dries fast and acts like a scar, but it has a delayed burning sensation that lasts for a few minutes.

Elvira
Did she freak out?

Brittany
No, she was fine. No head trauma, no heart problems or broken ribs.

Elvira
Oh. What about her made it a long day?

Brittany
She had a backpack with her, with a tiny lock on it. She kept her wallet in it and some other stuff… but I got the feeling that her entire life was in that bag. Everything she cared about, everything she owned. She was one of my first patients… but she stuck with me for the rest of the day.

Elvira
Did you ask her about it?

Brittany
No, it would’ve been too weird and rude. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Anderson, is that your whole life in there?”

Elvira
Yeah, I see what you mean.

Brittany
I’m a nurse so I’m supposed to be empathic, right?

Elvira
Yeah.

Brittany
But it has to be to a point. I mean, I might get a terrible patient or one who dies in front of me. I can’t take them with me.

Elvira
Has anyone died in front of you before?

Brittany
Not yet, but how can I handle that when I can’t handle a woman with a backpack?

Elvira
How long have you been a nurse?

Brittany
A few years.

Elvira
Have patients stuck with you like her?

Brittany
I usually forget about them an hour after they’re gone. Maybe bring up the bad ones with my friends at a bar.

Elvira
What do you think you need to do?

Brittany
Drinking to forget is irresponsible for a medical professional, so none of that.

Elvira
Maybe fall into the arms of a lover?

Brittany
The nursing life is an irregular one, and I haven’t found someone who can handle it.

Elvira
What about another nurse at the hospital?

Brittany
Do you really wanna depend on your ex during a crisis situation?

Elvira
Heh, no. Not at all.

Brittany
Yeah, so… Where’d your boyfriend go?

Elvira
Sex coma.

Brittany
I mean before…

Elvira
Oh! He’s an archaeologist, which isn’t nearly as exciting as it sounds. But he treats me good, likes what I like, and likes what I like.

Brittany
A regular cookie thumper. He’s gone often?

Elvira
Yeah, but we talk everyday. Either on the phone or webchats or snail mail.

Brittany
You handwrite letters to each other?

Elvira
Why not? It’s good to find something someone made just for you waiting for you at home.

Brittany
So I hear. Do you worry about him cheating? And have you ever thought about it?

Elvira
No, we have a, heh, healthy long-distance relationship.

Brittany
Aw.

Elvira
Yeah… Where’s that fucking train?!

Brittany
Do you have somewhere to be?

Elvira
Yeah, I have to pee and I’m not daring enough to use public bathrooms. The horror… the horror…

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