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American Contemporary Friendship

ARE YOU COMING TONIGHT?

Chasity stared at the phone, debating ‚Shall I answer it? I know it’s Rick. Do I or don’t I?’ The incessant ringing finally moved her to push the answer button. ‚About time Chasity, well answer me: Are you coming tonight? You were supposed to let me know yesterday evening. It’s really about time that you quit this moping about and get back to living. You used to be a fun girl to be with. You can’t tell me you can’t be that girl anymore. Hey girl, I’m still on the line – so are YOU coming with me and Susanna?’

‚Oh Rick, I really don’t want to butt in on your and Susanna’s evening, the third wheel so to say! And don’t tell me you two have got someone lined up on the side for when I say yes, or have I ruined your surprise? Truthfully, I’m just ........ Oh I really ......’ She feels the tears forming.

Rick doesn’t take long, he can feel the state she’s in but he forges ahead. ‚Chasity, we will be there at seven sharp! Wear your boating shoes and don’t forget to bring your swim gear with you. Susanna is doing the food and drinks for us. I’m not giving up on you yet.’

‚Hey Chasity, they’re asking for lab work to be done in ward 4 upstairs. Can you take it on?' her colleague Tom asks.

‚Sure thing’ she answers as she grabs her kit and runs to the lift. She quickly forgets about Rick and his comments as she checks her lab kit. The lift doors open, her colleague Andrew steps aside to make room for her.

 ‚Hey there Chasity.' 

‚Hi Andrew, where are you headed for?’

 ‚My next stop is ward 7. It’s been a busy morning. I haven’t had time to start any blood tests. I’m also scheduled to take blood at the clinic at 1 p.m. I don’t suppose I could get you to do it, could I?’

‚’Fraid not. I’m running microbiology stats today. Tom asked me to do blood work on ward 4.’ The lift doors open while announcing Ward 4. Chasity waves, ‚See you Andrew!’

Andrew winks as the  lift doors shut.

‚Hello Sue. I’m here to do the blood work you requested. Have you got the patients’ lists for me?’

‚Right on time, surprised to see you here, Chasity! Doctor Mannerly will be especially glad that you’ll be doing the patient in room 210 when I tell him.’

‚Why?’

‚It’s a young woman with very bad veins I’ve been told. Her finger tips are very sore. We’ve had to call in the doctors to do the blood work since she’s been here. Don’t want to scare you; this young woman is scared enough for both of you. So don’t be alarmed if you also have problems, okay?’ Sue gives Chasity a small smile and recommends she begins with the difficult patient. She hands over the list of lab work to be done. 

Chasity enters room 210 and sees  a lonely young woman in the half private room. Observing the patient from the doorway, she thinks how depressing to be in hospital all by yourself. Of course, there are times when you’re rather glad when there is no roommate. And I would guess like now when I will attempt to do her blood work. She reads the top of the nursing form: Miss Luanne Crane, age 15, in for observation, entry date: 7 days ago. 

‚Good morning Miss Crane. I’m Chasity from the medical laboratory. I’ve been assigned to do some blood work on you today. I’ve heard that you have been given a rough time from our department. I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope you’ll let me have a look.'

‚Oh no, not again! Really? Sorry, good morning but no I’m not up to this anymore. They tried yesterday afternoon. Why do you need so much blood? It’s been every day so far. I’ve got no fingers left, the one dries up and they pick another. And they say my veins are poor.’

‚I promise I won’t take from your fingers. If I cannot find your vein, then I’ll call the doctor to come in, okay?’

‚Do you think that they are any better? They aren’t!’ cries Luanne.

‚Just let me have a look, okay?’ The tiny patient tearfully nods yes. Chasity lifts the small pale hands and sees the multiple sore finger tips. She begins to massage the arms, beginning at the shoulders and moving slowly down towards the hands. She loosely applies the tourniquet and requests Luanne to open and close her fists a few times. Chasity’s fingers probe for the veins. She taps Luanne’s veins in the wrist area. And travels back up to the elbow. Thinking to herself, There that seems to be a good one. She tells Luanne to relax her hands, take some deep breaths to relax her body. Five minutes later, Chasity cautiously inserts her needle into a vein. Without a whimper, Luanne watches as her blood enters the different tubes. ’Oh my, I can’t believe this. And only one prick! Tell me, you’ll always do it while I’m here, please?’

Chasity smiles at the petite brunette as she cleans the wound and places a bandaid on it. ‚We shall see, okay? Bye.’

Her rounds on ward 4 are rather quickly finished after that. Sue winks at her as Chasity waves goodbye. Back in her own domain after delivering the vials of blood, she reviews what she must do while enjoying a cup of coffee. She has no partner here today, so she really must follow Tricia’s To Do list pinned to her board above the workbench. 

Once into the routine work, her mind begins to wander. Teardrops appear out of the blue. Why now, she asks herself. It’s been over eight months now that I lost Tim. It’s so hard to forget him and what he was to me. I know Rick is right but ....... . Over her workbench is a photograph of Tim, Rick, Susanne and herself on one of their scuba diving outings. We were so happy that day. It was a first time for scuba diving for me. Tim took me down with him. It was a fascinating experience. But now, after Tim, I’m pretty dam sure I’ll never go again. I realise how much he loved this sport; it was his profession. And all the times I did go with him, we never ran into any problems. It’s so hard to believe that he’ll never be back. They said he got trapped into a cave by an undercurrent, meaning I presume that his air ran out before he could free himself. What is strange though is that he was alone. I don’t remember Tim being anything but extremely conscious of diving regulations and good quality of equipment. He always double-checked before and after an outing. On that unfortunate day, his partner wondered where Tim was as he had inked in a date for the afternoon at 3 p.m. He was more than worried now as he was receiving no answers to cell calls or text messages. Finally, having to turn the customers back, he went in search of Tim’s boat.  Finding it, he notified the coast guard that Tim was missing. The coast guards arrived and some four hours later they found his lifeless body in one of the many underwater caves. 

Rick, being close friends with Tim and his partner, had received the devastating news first. He was the one to break the news to Chasity. He knew that Tim and Chasity had made plans about their future; he also knew how sensitive Chasity was. They had known each other since university together, going on ten years. As he had guessed, she was still keeping to herself, refusing to live again. Well, he’d keep on pestering her until she was her old self. He was the brother she didn’t have; in fact, her only family

The phone buzzing awoke Chasity from her mind’s dark corner.

‚Dr. Mannerly speaking, I’d like to speak to Miss Chasity Stanford, please.’

 ‚Speaking, how can I help you?’

‚I’ve just had a visit with Luanne Crane and Sue from ward 4, they both have the highest praise for your lab work this morning. I’d appreciate it if you could do Luanne’s lab work everyday while she’s here. I’ll come to the lab to meet you and get the results from this morning.’

‚Ah, Dr. Mannerly, I’m afraid you’ll have to speak to Tom. I’m chiefly stationed in microbiology. This morning was an exception as Tom had his hands full. I was glad to be of assistance. Other than my days off, I can arrange to do Luanne’s blood work for you, and for her, I should say.’

‚Right on, but I should like to meet you – and then discuss the microbiology results whenever they’re finished.’

‚Can do! Another forty-eight hours and they should be ready. Shall I block in a time?’ she asks.

‚How about Monday, late afternoon, say 4.30 p.m.?’

Chasity happily agrees and hangs up the phone only to be answering a call from Sue, who wants to know if that hunk of a man Dr. Mannerly had contacted her. 

Chasity sighs, ‚Oh, Sue, I don’t know the man, but yes he’s phoned me. We’re meeting on Monday. And I’ve agreed to do Luanne’s blood work. He was friendly, but don’t get any ideas, will you?’

‚Sue exclaims: ‚Me? Never! Just happy to see others are too! Have a good weekend.’ 

Chasity glances at the clock, I’ll take my lunch break in half an hour. Then I’ll continue with Tricia’s To Do list. I’m half way through that so I’ll be able to leave early, giving me time to find motivation for tonight’s date with Rick and co. 

‚There’s the bell, already 7 p.m.,' she puts on a happy face as she opens the door to Rick and Susanne.

Kisses and hugs, Rick then suggests having a drink together. He wants the ladies to taste his latest creation: Kentucky Blues. The name alone brings a bout of laughter from the ladies. ‚Why on earth Kentucky? You’ve never even been there, or have you?' Rick’s eyes twinkle in response: ‚Hell no, but I guess I was listening to some country dude while I was mixing a drink for myself. And see it’s blue.’ He’s already got three glasses ready to taste. ‚Mmh, not bad either, thanks Rick,' the ladies answer while smacking their lips.

‚A top up?’ asks Chasity. 

‚Oh no you don’t, we’ve got the evening planned, right Susanne? And we’re taking you with us. This drink is to put you, all of us, in a partying mood. We’re meeting the others at the beach. Jay and Mick are going to start the bond fire, so when you’re finished with your drinks, off we go.'

It was a beautiful evening and reliving the evening now alone at home Chasity had to admit she did have fun. More than glad that Rick was looking after her, even though she didn’t think she was quite ready to give up her memories of Tim. She really thought Rick and Susanne would be introducing her to someone tonight. Great, that they had not. Now, with Sue and this Dr. Mannerly, I’ll handle it the best way that I can. It’s time for a good night’s sleep. She kisses Tim’s photo by her bed and turns off the light.

The weekend is over before she knows it. Monday morning, upon entering the laboratory, Tom hands Chasity the paperwork for Luanne Crane on ward 4 and wishes her luck. On ward 4, Luanne is still anxious but so glad it’s this woman again. Chasity gets Luanne to again totally relax through her routine of massaging the arms, opening and closing her fists and having her take deep breaths. ‚Oh, it’s a miracle!’ squeals Luanne. Chasity smiles and wishes her a good day. Sue is not there, thank goodness Chasity says to herself. Now just meeting later on with this Dr. Mannerly and all is well.

Tricia and Chasity are busy the whole morning, share their lunch break together and talk about their weekend. Back upstairs in the lab, Chasity prepares the report on Luanne Crane for Dr. Mannerly.

At 4.30 p.m. Dr. Mannerly walks in and introduces himself. Chasity walks him over to a table, hands him the report and offers him a coffee, which he accepts. Their discussion lasts not longer than a half hour, which suits Chasity perfectly. Her problem is that Dr. Mannerly started to talk about the activities coming up for the hospital staff. And, wouldn’t you know it, but one was for this evening. ‚It was a night of bowling,’ he said. ‚It should be loads of fun: Are you coming tonight? I can pick you up if you like.’ A slight hesitation on her part, Rick may be right she thinks as she answers ‚Delightful.’

July 29, 2021 20:18

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4 comments

Eliza Entwistle
01:15 Aug 05, 2021

Critique circle here! This was an interesting story about recovering from past experiences with the help of others and venturing into the world again. Characters -> Chasity's personality was well-developed, and I felt like I knew her. Her friends seemed like good people, and wanted the best for her. Plot -> this story was paced well, and I like that you didn't reveal how Tim died until partway through the story. I'm glad that Chasity is opening up again, and I think you showed that progression nicely. Writing -> a detailed style that h...

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Janet Joos
21:14 Aug 05, 2021

Thank you for your detailed feedback. Typo errors- possibly mixed English/ American since I use both. I get confused at times. As for comma apostrophe that is my ‚word program‘ - I‘ve tried to change it but it always goes back to that. I thought I put delightful in italics instead. I guess I skipped it when I double checked. Thanks again.

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Janet Joos
21:15 Aug 05, 2021

Thank you for your detailed feedback. Typo errors- possibly mixed English/ American since I use both. I get confused at times. As for comma apostrophe that is my ‚word program‘ - I‘ve tried to change it but it always goes back to that. I thought I put delightful in italics instead. I guess I skipped it when I double checked. Thanks again.

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Eliza Entwistle
21:35 Aug 05, 2021

You're welcome! That's unfortunate about your word program

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