The hospital hall lights were dim as Maggie’s high healed shoes resonated off the bare white walls. The nurses station stood brightly lit in the center of the ward. A heavy set woman in her mid-thirties sat at the station typing on a computer. Her scrubs, like always, displayed cheerful kittens in bright colors, playing with balls of yarn.
“Hey Caroline,” Maggie said in a low tone to match the hush of the hospital.
“Hi Maggie, How’s it going?” Caroline responded looking up from her computer screen briefly.
“The usual,” Maggie said as she checked the rotation chart that hung on a clipboard on the outside of the desk. She was at the beginning of a double shift to cover for her friend, who had wanted to spend the weekend away with her boyfriend. Maggie wasn’t looking forward to the double, but she had nothing else to do on this particular Saturday night, and the overtime pay always enticed her. Normally on a Saturday night, she would be hanging out with her boyfriend. They had been together for two year when she found out he had been sexting with another woman. Maggie's heart had been ripped out and trampled; she questioned if it was her. Maybe she wasn't pretty enough, or sexy enough. But now she just felt a slow burning rage at his selfishness. She knew now it was him and not her. She was a beautiful blond 24-year-old who had her pick of men. She had been foolish enough to pick Joe who only cares about himself. All she had now was a slow burning rage at being used so disrespectfully. She spent more time than was healthy thinking about getting back at him somehow, which obviously wasn't going to end up happening, but it gave her something to keep her mind occupied.
Maggie found her first patient assignment and started off towards room 103. She straightened her skirt as she walked. Although she worked long hours in the hospital she still liked to look her best. She wore a classic nurses dress. Maggie was content for the moment to have her job as a distraction from her personal problems. She knocked gently on the door to room 103 before entering.
"Good evening, Mr. Thompson," Maggie called in her pleasant voice. She was a caring nurse with a reputation for excellence.
“How do you do Maggie? How's my favorite nurse doing tonight?" Mr. Thompson asked. He was an elderly gentleman who was always very kind and polite to Maggie.
"I am good," Maggie had to force a smile tonight, but her voice sounded pleasant. She checked his vitals and bid him a good night, as she walked to her next patient's room. The patient had been newly admitted only an hour before. She knocked gently on the door to room 113 before entering.
"Good eveni..." Her sing song voice ended abruptly when her eyes met those of the patient on the bed. His brown eyes locked on hers with a pathetic well what do you know glint. His shoulders shrugged saying apologetically. Maggie's eyes burned and her blood turned to acid in her veins. There sitting on the bed of room 113 was her freshly ex-boyfriend Joe.
"Hey Mags," he started to say. But Maggie had already turned on her heals, slammed the door and was stomping back to the nurse’s station.
She looked up from her computer startled at the sound of Maggie's angry gait.
"No way, Caroline," Maggie was practically shouting.
"Um, what’s going on Maggie?" Caroline asked with trepidation.
"There is no way I am going to watch room 113 all night!" Maggie insisted.
"Why not? What is the problem?" Caroline's own voice was raising in the tense discussion.
"Joe is the patient in room 113,” Maggie said with stern sincerity. Maggie and Caroline were close enough friends that Maggie didn't need to say anymore for Caroline to understand the implied issues of the current situation.
"I am so sorry Maggie, but I can't switch you off that room. We are short staffed as it is. I have no one else to cover it," Caroline said as her shoulders hunched in defense.
"Please Caroline, what the hell am I supposed to do all night dealing with his smug face?" Maggie pleaded.
"I don't know Maggie, but I can't switch it. You will have to make the best of it. Maybe give him an earful while he can't go anywhere," Caroline said trying to come up with a way to cheer Maggie up.
"Maybe," Maggie grumbled as she started slowly walking back towards room 113. As she walked Caroline's words played in Maggie’s mind.