For the past year, it has been the two of us during every single shift. So many come and go, but Dawn, she was my go-to. Stuck, quiet, needed a break, or just wanted to step away for a second, she knew, and she gave me what I needed. I knew her also, her strengths, fear, quirks, and especially, what pissed her off, and I never, ever crossed her when she was pissed. The day flies by with a couple of gunshot victims and always that one drunk when we do rock, paper, scissors to decide who will take the case. She always does paper; I don’t even know if she realizes she does.
When things finally settle down, I sit down at the nurses’ station to finish all the files before shift change. “So you’re really doing this?” Dawn asks from her side.
“Yup,” I answer, not looking up. “I know she would do the same thing for me, no questions asked.” Dawn doesn’t say anything; she just hums her acquiescence.
The week flies by, and there is so much to do. I had to sublease my apartment, pack it all up, and help Hailey with her purge of Eric or, as she is calling it, ‘shit for sale.’ When Tuesday night rolls around, I’m more than ready to cut loose. I’ve already sent my stuff to the house, and I have one suitcase left. I had nothing to wear tonight, so I ran out at the last minute.
I shower, toweling down with a small tea towel. I pull up the light pink skirt, zipping the gold zipper in the back. I grab the strapless white top, which zips up the back also. The loose chiffon outer layer floats, leaving the white material underneath snug to my body. I pair the outfit with pink open-toe suede booties. My makeup is minimal; I plan to drink heavily tonight and having to deal with taking it off when I get home will be one less thing for me to do. I grab a shawl and make my way downstairs when I hear the honk of the Uber.
Walking out of the apartment building, I see Dawn waiting for me. “Holy shit, someone is getting lucky tonight.” She snaps her fingers.
“One can hope.” I wink at her, ducking to get into the car. We make it to the bar where we have spent many nights closing it down. It’s where the hospital staff always goes. It’s where every birthday, retirement, and going away party takes place. Pulling up, we see that the place is already busting at the seams. “Holy shit, are all these people for me?” I joke as I get out of the car and we make our way inside. If it looked packed outside, it’s only a glimpse of what is inside. The four corners are almost all full.
“Crystal.” I hear my name yelled from someone to the side and see half of the nursing staff of the emergency room all around a high-top round table. I grab Dawn’s hand and lead us to the table. “Look at you,” Harriet, the head nurse, says.
“Who ordered shots?” asks Patrick, the head of surgery, carrying a tray full of shots. “Look at you?” he says.
I roll my eyes. “Jesus, do I look that bad in scrubs?” I say. Picking up a shot of tequila, I down it, hissing at the burning down my throat. “Why is this place so packed?”
“Medical convention,” Patrick tells me as soon as he swallows the shot.
Over the next hour, half the ER nurses and doctors show up, and we’ve taken over five more tables. After a couple of more shots, my smile is plastered on my face as people come over to me and tell me how much they are going to miss me. The people keep coming in and some leave, some linger. The music begins to play, so we throw our hands in the air and swing our hips.
“I’m going to the restroom.” I giggle to Dawn, who nods her head at me. Making my way through the crowd of people around the bar, I bend my head to watch my feet. Walking into the dim hallway, I smash into a man who has just come out of the bathroom. His arm automatically flies to wrap around my waist and bring me against him. His smell intoxicates me further, and I giggle as I try not to fall. I put my head back, looking up at him, and my smile gets even bigger. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t watching where I was going.” I look up into his blue eyes, and he smiles down at me.
“It’s my fault.” His voice comes out deep. “I should have looked right and left when I walked out of the bathroom.”
I throw my head back and laugh. “I get it. Like crossing the street.”