Saturday, December 31, 2011

Two Worlds

On the outside, she is perfect.

Her scrubs fit perfectly, her hair is messy in a way that says she is confident and doesn't care what the world thinks. Her nose is petite, her skin clear.

Her shoes add just enough height to make people notice her, but not enough to be imposing.

She is young; younger than most with her job.

After setting down her purse and coat, she sits facing me.

I watch her eyes as she listens to the report. They are large and brown, rimmed by dark eyelashes.

The intensity with which she listens is unusual. Her job clearly means a lot to her. Her eyes never waver from the other women's as she takes notes.

After shift change, this woman settles into her chair. The hinges squeak as she adjusts the settings to her liking.

Her gaze settles on me, and we exchange the customary "Good mornings".

She makes small talk with the other nurses as they trickle in. They comment on the weather, whining kids, the new year, lack of sleep, and other standards.

Her intense gaze is now fixed on the computer screen. I continue answering calls.

Only after the third "Meghan?", does she turn to face me. Her eyes are no longer intense, but fixed on a point no one else can see.

I tell her about the family member on hold, before slowly returning to the blinking phone.

Her gaze and changed demeanor startle me. 

She continues to answer questions and type and be present when needed.

In the small spaces in between, however, her eyes un-focus. She allows her lids to close partway, for wrinkles to from at the corners, and for her chin to drop.

Her outward appearance is carefully orchestrated to disguise whatever lies beneath the surface.

I wonder at her secrets. Her life. The one she shows to the world, and the one that takes place behind closed doors.

The pager's strident buzz catches both of us off-guard and we reach for it, she with her work face back in place, and me, not making the transition quite as quickly.

1 comment:

normal.is.overrated. said...

wow I loved this! I love the way you write, seriously.