Saturday, March 26, 2011

FICTION: Jenevieve by Lynn Kennison

As I hear a man’s voice, a relentless burst of light burns through my eyelids. The magnitude of the brightness is so unbearable, his words ramble into indistinct babble. To make sense of things, I try to focus my hearing on the surrounding bedlam. I can make out the sounds of metal clanking, unfamiliar chatter, and a really annoying high-pitched beeping. Finally, the over afflicting light is eclipsed, and I immediately try to blink my aching eyes in an effort to focus. “He’s awake, Dr. Benson,” I hear someone say. I look around and realize I’m in a hospital. Suddenly, my last memory comes rushing forward; I see my car swerving off the wet highway, persevering through a dark wooden fence, and then heading steadfast into a large, unforgivable tree. There’s another menacing light as a man shoves the shiny end of a flash light into my face.

“I’m Dr. Benson, son, can you tell me your name?”

I find the soreness of my throat is somewhat restricting, and I struggle to answer him. “Adam St Claire,” I manage to say—my voice cracking just a bit.

“Good Adam. Do you know where you are?” Dr. Benson asks.

“The hospital,” I answer.

“That’s right. And do you know why you’re here?”

He is a doctor, right? “I was in a car accident,” I force out.

“Good. It seems your memory is fine, Mr. St Claire. Nurse Becky, here, is going to get you all settled into a room. I will be in to check on you in a few hours. Try and get some rest, okay?”

I nod and find that my head and neck have had better days as well.

One by one, I count the fluorescent lights passing over me as the nurse wheels me slowly down a corridor—so far I’m up to twenty-two. After two elevator rides and one hundred and eight fluorescent lights, we arrive in an unoccupied room. It’s an ordinary hospital room with stark white walls, a single visitor’s chair, a wall mounted television, and a small window—probably overlooking a brick wall. Nurse Becky positions me at the center of the room, and seemingly on autopilot, she begins plugging in several cords, pushing buttons, flipping switches, and then quickly scribbles something onto a clipboard pressing down so hard with her pen I’m not sure how the paper is withstanding.

She then places the clipboard at the foot of my bed and addresses me, “Can I get you anything?” Her tone matches her robust, linebacker figure and hardened expression.

“Can I have some water?” I ask while rubbing my throat in discomfort.

“No. I know your throat is scratchy, but you can’t have any liquids yet. You just came out of surgery. I’ll get you some ice chips you can suck on.”

I can tell she’s the firm- handed, straight-laced type of nurse—sounds a little bitter too. “Thanks,” I manage to say.

It feels like an eternity, but she finally returns with a small cup of ice. Nurse Becky wheels a bedside tray table over and places the cup down. “Now don’t eat them too fast, okay?” Unfortunately, time hasn’t changed her mood. She watches me with a stern look and awaits my acknowledgment. I nod as I pick the cup up. Curiously, she takes out a pad of paper and clicks her pen preparing to write something down.

“Do you have any next of kin that you would like us to contact?” she asks.

I shake my head as I put a piece of ice in my mouth.

“Any friends….a girlfriend perhaps?” She adds.

Sadly, I don’t think my ex-girlfriend would care! I shake my head again, but she’s not leaving.

“No one?”

Rub it in why don’t you! “No,” I tell her.


Geez Lady! “No! If you must know, I had a beautiful girlfriend who I loved very much, but she tore out my heart when she left me for my best friend. I got fired from my job two weeks ago, and my parents think I’m a big disappointment; so, there’s no girlfriend, no friends, no job, and no parents for you to bother. And before you ask, I don’t have a fucking dog, cat, or goldfish either. Nobody cares if I live or die, so thank you very little, Nurse Becky, for reminding me just how much my pathetic life really fucking sucks!”

She clicks her pen again and stares through me as she contemplates my outburst. I regret my tone (and maybe my use of the F word) almost immediately; she is somewhat intimidating. Her demeanor changes completely to that of a sympathetic manner as she walks closer and places her hand on mine. I do feel like a jackass now; maybe she’s not a callous as I first thought.

In a sweet tone she speaks to me, “How could your life be pathetic sweetheart? You’re such a bundle of fucking sunshine.”

I force a smile as I realize I’m in for a wonderful time.

“Just press that button if you need anything. I’ve got nothing better to do,” she adds before heading out of my room leaving me in the dark.

How long am I going to be in this hellhole?


I wake as I hear Dr. Benson’s voice again and wonder how long I’ve been out. I’m in pain, but I don’t think I’ve ever slept so soundly. Maybe Nurse Becky over did it on my sleeping meds (perhaps trying to kill me, or at least to keep in a more compliant nature).

“So, Mr. St Claire, how are you feeling?” the doctor asks.

“Like shit,” I complain.

“Well that’s to be expected. Your list of injuries is quite extensive.” He flips through my chart before continuing.

Having a better view of Dr. Benson now, I can tell he must be a vain man. He’s probably pushing fifty, and he has so much hair gel shellacked into his unnatural highlights, he looks like he’s wearing a tiger print helmet. No doubt he has veneers too, because his teeth are too perfect, and next to his fake tanned skin, they are freakishly glowing.

“Both of your knees are broken, also your left ankle, three broken ribs on your left side, and you have….let’s see….thirty-five stitches on your forehead there. You’re very lucky; there were no internal injuries.”

Yeah, I feel lucky.

“So we have you scheduled for another surgery to set that ankle with pins on Thursday morning, and seeing how that goes, we’ll schedule one surgery to take care of both knees in probably a week’s time.”

“Sounds great,” I sigh.

He looks to my favorite nurse, “When is he due for his next dose of pain medication?”

She checks her watch, “not for another ten minutes.”

He flashes a cavalier smile. “Well I think we can go ahead and let him have it now.”

“I’ll get right on that,” she says as she exits the room. I think I heard a hint of sarcasm (fifty bucks says she doesn’t come back one minute sooner).

“Okay, so I will see you in less than forty-eight hours then. Just have the nurse page me if anything, of note, comes up.” He says before leaving me to the mercy of Nurse Becky.

Shockingly, Nurse Becky only takes eight minutes to return with my pain medication. “Miss me, Sunshine?” she taunts as she enters the room.

“Oh, how I count the ways, Nurse Becky.” I may be wrong, but I think she might have just cracked a little smile as I watch her putting something into my IV.

“You should feel a little relief in ten minutes or so. I’ll come back with your dinner tray.” She leaves my room and almost runs over a little boy that looks to be no more than three or four years old. “No playing in the hallways!” She snaps.

Poor thing looks terrified of her. She’s probably what he imagines to be hiding in his closet at night waiting to jump out and eat him. Hold on, who is this? A young, pretty blonde woman comes to his rescue. She’s wearing a lavender sleeveless blouse with ruffles flowing down the front, figure-flattering black pants, and black strappy shoes that have maybe a three to four inch heel on them. And I’ve just realized that I’ve actually paid attention to a woman’s foot attire. Witnessing her lean down to give a few words of encouragement, I wonder what she is saying to him as a bright smile flourishes on the little boy’s face. She soon stands erect and lovingly takes him by the hand. As she turns, I become instantly enraptured by her angelic face and watch as her long golden waves stream to one side, cascading beautifully down and around her bare shoulder. Entranced by her sweet smile, time briefly stands still, allowing me to be caught off guard when her eyes unexpectedly shift in my direction. Our eyes meet momentarily, and for a brief second I can hear my own heartbeat before, suddenly, I realize it’s not polite to stare, and quickly, I avert my gaze. I carefully look back as she is leading him away—lucky boy.

Bringing me directly out of my daydreaming state, my favorite nurse soon returns with a tray of food. Using her inside manners, she plops it down in front of me and tells me its meatloaf before abruptly leaving the room. I ask for salt, but I’m not holding my breath. I peek under the lid; it doesn’t look like any meatloaf I’ve ever had, but I’m hungry enough to eat it. I take a couple of bites; seems I’ll live. As a clinking noise peaks my interest, I stop chewing. Curiously, it sounds like it’s coming from under my bed. Yep, I’m pretty sure something is under me! Panicking—just a little—I quickly grab my remote and press the button to summon the nurse. This seems like an emergency to me. For all I know they may have huge fucking rats in this hospital! To my surprise, in walks the lovely blonde from the hallway.

“Charlie!” She says as she bends down to look under my bed.

“Hey,” I greet her, but she ignores me. I do have a mouth full of meatloaf; maybe she didn’t hear me properly.

“Charlie you come out from under there right now before your mom notices you’re missing!” What do you know? She must not be his mother.

Suddenly, Nurse Scary arrives on scene. “What is it…..hey, what are you doing under there?! Why aren’t you being supervised, little boy?”

The little boy, Charlie, squeals as he climbs out from under my bed and runs away.

“Save yourself little man!” I call out and then look at the blonde woman. “Don’t feel bad….she doesn’t treat me like I’m an adult either.” I attempt to make a joke out of the situation, but she just looks at me with confusion in her eyes. I guess it’s safe to say she doesn’t find me funny, and I’m starting to feel a little uncomfortable in her silence. Did I say something insulting? I don’t think I said anything out of line, but without a single word, she leaves.

“I’ll take that,” Nurse Becky barks as she swipes my tray.

“I wasn’t….” She’s already leaving with my mediocre meatloaf, “finished.”

I’m curious as I hear voices in the hallway again. This time, I see the little boy being carried out by a woman with brown hair (who is walking hand in hand with a man). They must be his parents. The blonde woman is following closely behind them, but she stops and lingers outside of my doorway. I lift my hand and wave. I’m not sure what to make of the expression on her face. Am I that scary to look at? But she acknowledges me and smiles back. Nurse Becky rudely walks past her on her way into my room shutting the door in her face.

“Perfect timing as always My Lady,” I say as she’s putting some oblivion inducing agent into my IV again.

“Well this should keep you quiet,” she says as she pulls the syringe out.

“I knew you were drugging me,” I tell her.

“Better to keep on good terms with those who watch over while you sleep, don’t you think?” She says and then winks at me.

She is scary. “Is that a threat, Nurse Becky?” I ask halfheartedly.

“Sleep-tight, Sunshine,” she tells me as she pats the end of my bed and then exits.

My eyelids are already heavy signaling the impending blackout.


I hear a soft spoken voice coaxing me to life, and the subtle aroma of bacon wonderfully pokes at my senses. I rub my eyes and blink to focus them.

“Good morning,” a small, fragile voice says to me.

I look over and see a tiny elderly lady graciously waiting beside my bed with a tray of food. “Good morning,” I reply.

She sets the tray down for me, “I’m Dot, and I’ll be your nurse today.”

She’s my nurse! She must be a hundred and two years old! “What, no Nurse Becky to torture me today?” I remark.

She laughs. At least she gets my sense of humor. Then again, she probably knows the lovely Becky.

“She has the day off,” she politely explains.

She isn’t going to complain about Becky at all? No dirt?

“Did you put her back in her cage?” I instigate a little.

She laughs again. “She may be a little rough around the edges, but she’s a good gal.”

“You’re way too nice Miss Dot. She beats me when nobody’s looking. You see the stitches on my forehead?”

“Oh, she did that, did she?”

“I don’t know, because she also drugs me, and then I don’t remember anything. She’s starving me too.”

“I thought you said you don’t remember anything?”

“I know I’m famished.”

“Well go ahead and enjoy your food while you can. She’ll be back to tonight.”

“Thanks for the warning,” I say as she’s leaving me to my breakfast.

After the sweet Misses Dot removes my breakfast tray, I notice the little boy Charlie playing in the hallway again. “Pssst,” I try to get his attention. When he looks at me, I motion for him to come in. He marches in bravely and walks right up to my bed. That was easy.

“Hi, your name is Charlie, right?”

He grins as he nods.

“Well it’s nice to meet you Charlie….my name’s Adam.”

His dark-brown eyes look inquisitive. But I guess he isn’t going to speak.

“Well, Charlie, I was wondering….what’s the name of the pretty lady that was with you last night?”

I think he says Angie, but suddenly there she is—standing in my doorway—as striking as the night before, except her long blonde tresses hang straight today, over an ivory sweater that adorns a large ebony bow across the front.

“Hello,” I greet her again.

She smiles as she walks in and politely says hello back this time. Captivated by her and completely stupefied, I’m not sure what else to say.

“He’s not bothering you, is he?” she asks.

I suddenly snap out of my comatose state, “Who? Charlie here? No way. We’re pals….right Charlie?” I laugh nervously, and Charlie’s of no help, because he stands there and shakes his head. She laughs though, and I realize that I finally get what people are talking about when they say, ‘love at first sight’. I mean, I’m not saying I’m in love—I don’t even know her—but I definitely get the meaning of that cliché term now.

She looks down at Charlie, “You shouldn’t run into a stranger’s room, Charlie.”

“But he told me to,” his high-pitched voice squeals.

I smile as she turns her gaze to me. Her striking cornflower eyes stare inquisitively, and I instantly become a bumbling idiot. “I just thought I should introduce myself since….you know, well, seeing you last night….and then again this morning.” I try to justify myself for luring a little boy into a ‘stranger’s’ room.

She comes closer and extends her hand, “I’m Jenevieve.”

My pulse monitor gives me away as the little jagged lines skyrocket followed by a high frequency beeping. Hoping she didn’t notice, I snatch the attachment off of my finger and take her hand, “I’m Adam.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Adam.”


“So what are you in for?” She asks.

“Oh, just a few broken bones…..nothing serious….car accident. I’m going to live, they tell me.” She looks kind of emotional for a second, and I realize that may have been an insensitive thing to say. She’s obviously visiting someone here in the hospital and their prognosis may not be of a positive nature. “I’m sorry, you’re here visiting someone….”

“No worries. We’re visiting a family member just down the hall, but thankfully, they’re going to live too.” She looks over at Charlie, “come on, Charlie. We should let Adam rest.”

“There’s no need to rush off,” I blurt out.

“We really should go,” she says as she’s already steering Charlie towards the door.

“Hey Jenevieve,” I call out.

Thankfully, she turns back around, “yeah?”

“You didn’t give me a fake name or anything did you? Because, I thought I heard Charlie call you Angie.”

She laughs. “He’s my nephew; you probably heard him say, ‘Aunt Jen’. He’s only three. Jenevieve is kind of difficult for him for him to say.”

“Oh….good; I thought, maybe you thought, I was a creep or something.” If I keep blabbing on, she may think so.

She smiles, “No. My creep radar didn’t go off.”

I laugh—probably overdoing it just a little. “Well, if your relative needs a rest, you’re more than welcome to come back by. I’m going to have surgery in the morning, maybe you could pop in and wish me luck….you know….if you’re already on the same floor, I mean. Charlie’s welcome too of course.” She’ll never step foot in my room again.

“Alright….maybe I will,” she says kindly. She smiles as she leaves—dragging Charlie along with her.

The smile is still spread across my face as Nurse Dot comes in for my scheduled pain medication. “That little boy wasn’t bothering you, was he?”

“Charlie? No way. And neither was his aunt.”

“Huh? I figured she was his mother.” She says as she’s filling my IV.

“So did I, but she’s his aunt. Next time maybe I’ll find out if there’s an uncle.”

“You’re supposed to be taking it easy and resting young man.” Dot scolds playfully.

“Is that a hint of jealousy I sense, Dorothy?”

“Oh….you, I’m old enough to be your grandmother.”

More like great-grandmother. “Are you kidding? What are you, like, forty-five?”

She snickers as she leaves me to my resting.


I anxiously await her arrival the rest of the afternoon, but to my dismay, Jenevieve never makes it back. I haven’t heard Charlie running the halls in quite a while, so I think they’ve left the hospital all together now. Visiting hours are now over, but that’s the least of my worries. Nurse Becky is back, and she drops quite the bombshell on me.

“It’s time for you bath,” she taunts.

No! Fucking! Way! “You’re kidding me, right?”

“You can’t stay filthy forever.”

“I’m not filthy!” I protest most defiantly.

“Oh yeah….when’s the last time you’ve showered then?”

I’m thinking, but I can’t recall. She doesn’t give me a chance to answer either.

“That’s what I thought.” She says as she starts snatching my covers away.

I desperately start tugging them back and retort, “Hold on a minute, Nurse Grabby! Aren’t hospitals supposed to have young, hot nurses that are in charge of this sort of thing?”

Her eyes narrow. “I was going to be gentle.” She reveals just before overpowering me.


At least, Nurse Broomhilda has left me alone for now, and I will admit—though not to her—I do feel mildly better. She must have snuck into my room, because I didn’t hear her come in, but I’m pleasantly surprised, as my head snaps up from my pillow in response to Jenevieve’s voice.

“Hey,” I reply as I struggle to sit back up.

She walks over to kindly assist me. “I hope I didn’t startle you. Since visiting hours are over, I had to sneak in.”

“Oh. No. It’s cool.” I reply.

“Unfortunately, I won’t be able stay long though.”

“I’m surprised you came at all. I just want to say, if I sounded like a complete idiot earlier, I was under heavy medication.” Good, she’s smiling.

“You sounded perfectly normal to me.” She sits down in the blue chair beside my bed. Before, that chair was a constant reminder that no one would be visiting my room (that wasn’t on hospital payroll)—not so much anymore. “So what kind of surgery are you having in the morning?” she asks.

“It’s on my ankle. I think they have to put some pins in it or something. I have another one in a week, or so, to fix my knees too.”

“Wow, I guess you probably wish you had picked a smaller tree.”

That’s funny. “How did you know I hit a tree?”

“I read the newspaper article earlier. I saw the headline, Near-fatal crash, 28-year-old lucky to be alive. It was a hunch that the ‘Adam’ in the article was you.”

“I didn’t realize it was in the paper,” I remark. That means there’s a good chance that certain other people know about my accident, and still no one has come to check in. Proves my point—nobody cares.

“It says you crashed through a fence first; you must have been scared.”

“I really don’t remember too much about it. So who’s your relative you’ve been coming to visit?” I make an effort to change the subject.

“My mother….she needed to have a simple procedure done. Everything’s good, and she’s being sent home on Monday.”

“That’s good,” I comment.

“Has your family been in to visit?” she asks.

Ugh! Not family questions! “They live out of state…it’s no big deal. I’ll be out before they could ever make it here anyway. It would just be a wasted trip for them.” Hopefully she buys that.

“How long will you be here?” she asks.

“I’m not exactly sure. My other surgery is supposed to be in a week, so after that, I’m not sure how long they will let me recover before kicking me out. But I can tell you it won’t be soon enough.”

“So you don’t like being waited on with service just a button’s press away?”

“Have you seen the night nurse? She tried to drown me earlier.”

She laughs. I really like her laugh; I really like her smile. So far, there’s not much about her I don’t like.

“Well, I should get going,” she says as she stands up.

Wow, she really couldn’t stay long. “I guess you have somebody to get back to.” This is my subtle attempt to find out if she has a boyfriend. Since I don’t see a wedding ring, I don’t think she’s married.

“Yeah, Charlie,” she answers.

Cool. “So you’re his aunt and his babysitter?”

“What can I say? I’m good at multitasking.”

“There’s….nobody else?” My hope fades as she takes a moment.

“Not anymore,” she finally answers.

I can handle that. “Do you think you’ll be coming to visit your mother tomorrow?”

“Most likely….will you be able to have visitors after your surgery?”

“Definitely,” I say.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” she smiles.

“It’s a date. I mean not a real date….just that I’ll be here, and if you’re here, then great.” I’m sure my face is probably flushed now.

She smiles again, “sweet dreams, Adam.” She’s out the door before I can return the sentiment.

The door hasn’t been closed behind her more than thirty seconds, or so, before the torture queen comes in to ruin my good mood. Thank God, Nurse Becky didn’t catch her in here! Jenevieve would surely never visit me again after a late night encounter with her.

“You’re supposed to be resting, not watching TV!”

I look at the TV, and it’s not even on. I suddenly realize she must have heard us talking and assumed I was watching it.

“And that’s why I just turned it off.” I smile (maybe a little sarcastically). She gives me the evil eye before turning off my light and leaving me in the dark. Oh my goodness! I just realized who Nurse Dicky reminds of…..that chick from Misery!


I’m a little groggy coming out of the anesthesia. I don’t even know if I’ve talked to Dr. Pumpkin Head yet, but I assume I have, because I’m already resting back in my room. Again, I’m denied water and given ice chips instead. At least Nurse Dot is back for the time being. In a few hours, I’ll be allowed to have some sort of broth, I suppose. I’m not really hungry though; I actually feel kind of nauseous. Dot gives me some kind of medication and tells me to rest.


I wake and realize Jenevieve is sitting in the chair next to my bed. Her hair is pulled back gracefully into a loose ponytail unveiling her lovely facial features. Her light-blue ruffled sleeved blouse complements her creamy complexion and striking blue eyes. She smiles softly, and my pulse monitor betrays me again. I really must have a little warning before she comes into my room next time.

“How are you feeling?” She asks quietly.

“Okay I guess…..How long have you been sitting there?”

“Not that long. Hold on a minute. Somebody has something for you.” She says as she gets up and immediately leaves my room.

A short moment later, Charlie comes in. He is carrying a shiny blue vase containing a small flower arrangement of purple violets and yellow daisies. “Get beddor, Adam!” Charlie says excitedly as he reaches up and hands me the flowers.

“Thank you, Charlie.”

“And Angie too,” he adds as he looks up at Jenevieve.

“Yes. Thank you too, Aunt Jen,” I say.

She smiles, “you’re welcome. We wanted you to have them for your surgery.”

She’s being polite and not mentioning the depressing lack of cards or flowers leaving a void in my room.

“I like the lello ones,” I hear Charlie say.

I think he means yellow. “Really? Those are my favorite too,” I tell him.

Suddenly, a woman in a dark blue dress enters the doorway of my room. “Charlie, what are you doing in here?” she asks in a scolding tone. It’s the same dark haired woman I saw carrying him out the other night. She must be Jenevieve’s sister. They look a lot alike except for their hair color and maybe the eyes. She’s too far away to tell, but I think hers might be brown.

“I’m sorry; is he bothering you? He gets bored sitting in my mother’s room, and he holds a Masters in sneaking.”

“No, he’s not bothering me at all,” I tell her.

“Mommy, Angie said I could.”

“I’m sure she did, but we should go, Charlie. Papa’s here now.” She holds her hand out and waits for Charlie. For some reason, I think she’s eyeing my flowers, but she soon turns to leave with Charlie in hand.

“I’ll be there in a minute.” Jenevieve says, as they leave.

“Okay!” I hear Charlie’s small voice call out.

“That was my sister Joanna…Charlie’s mom. I guess I should have introduced you. That was rude of me.”

“I can see the resemblance.”

“That’s what everybody says.”

“You seem really close in age. You’re not twins, are you?”

“No. She’s twenty-seven. I’m actually three years older.”

“Wow, you don’t look thirty.”

“Well, that’s probably because I’m only twenty-nine.”

I think I can do simple math. She did say she was three years older, right?

“I’m sorry, I meant two years. We’re two years apart. Duh, that was a blonde moment. My brother’s the one that’s three years younger than me.”

“Wow, how many of you are there?”

“Just three….two girls and a boy,” she answers.

“Does your brother have a name that starts with a J too?”

“How did you guess?” She smiles, “his name is Jonathan, but we call him Johnny.

I laugh. I am really enjoying her company, but as previously, she’s beginning to make excuses to leave too soon.

“I’ll come back later after you’ve had a chance to rest,” she says.

“But I’ve already rested,” I protest.

“Well I think you’re about to rest some more. I’ve gotten pretty used to the nurse’s schedules around here, and I bet you any minute one is coming in to give you some sort of a narcotic that will render you helpless and unconscious in no time.”

“I’ll refuse it if you stay.” I hope I don’t sound too desperate, but I really don’t want her to leave.

“Adam the rebel….I’ll come back later. I promise.”

I finally give up, and she leaves. Just like she predicted, Nurse Dot comes in and administers a medication into my IV. I don’t even remember falling asleep.


It must be night again, because Nurse Becky is back. She probably takes the nightshift, because she has to return to her cave before the sun rises. Though, I suppose they must have to keep her locked out of the children’s wing. That way she won’t be tempted to eat any of them. She plops my tray down in the barbarous manner I’ve become accustomed to.

“It’s your lucky night. You get fried chicken,” she barks.

I open the lid and look at my plate. It smells great, but the portions are pretty small.

“Did you eat their heads?” I can’t help goading her whenever possible. Besides my new crush, it’s what keeps me going.

“Sorry, they weren’t on the menu.”

“They wouldn’t happen to have a cold one on the menu would they?”

“You want your chicken cold?”

“No, I meant….never-mind it was a joke. You don’t get it.”

“Oh I get it. I just didn’t think it was funny.”

“I’m starting to think you need to get out more, Nurse Becky. Don’t you have any friends?”

“Yeah, I’m going to get out right now and take a break with my old pal Jack Daniels. Then I’ll be back in to give you your sleeping meds and tuck you in Sugar-pie.” She says as she’s leaving.

“Who’s not being funny now?” I call out.

I prepare to take a bite when I hear a delightful sound. “So what’s for dinner?” Jenevieve asks. Charlie patters in beside her.

“Fried chicken,” I answer.

“Ooh did you hear that Charlie? Adam’s eating fried chicken.”

“Bak Bak Bak Bak.” Charlie squawks as Jenevieve laughs.

“Are are you guys vegetarians?”

“I am; he’s still in training.”

“Adam eading Bak Bak, Angie.” Charlie giggles as he pretends his arms are chicken wings.

“I can take or leave it. I really don’t eat that much meat anyway. I could easily be a vegetarian.” I say wanting to impress her, but I don’t think she believes me.

She laughs as she looks at my plate. “So are yummy looking carrots, savory green peas, and a dollop of chocolate pudding going to satisfy your masculine physic?”

Is that a compliment or the use of satire? I’m unsure; I’ve always been the tall skinny kid who got picked last when playing football. “I don’t need to eat that much. I just lay in bed all day anyway,” I answer.

“Well, go ahead and eat your murdered fowl. I need to take Charlie to my mom’s room before visiting hours are up.”

“You just got here,” I complain.

“I’ll come back. I’ll sneak in if I have to.”

“Nooo. You have no idea how Nurse Becky can be. You’re lucky she didn’t catch you last night. I think she could literally relieve you of your appendages.”

I notice Charlie’s eyes widen.

“Your Nurse Becky doesn’t frighten me,” she bravely proclaims, and to my dismay, she and Charlie leave.

“Do you think he will eat his chocwet pudding Angie?” I hear Charlie ask as they are heading down the hall.


I refused to have any sleep aids administered, but I’m starting to regret that decision now, because my head and legs are throbbing, and I don’t think Jenevieve is coming back. Visiting hours have been over for quite some time now. I have flipped through every channel twice, but I can’t find anything on TV to keep my mind preoccupied. I finally turn it off and ready myself for a big fat ‘I told you so’ from Nurse Becky. As I reach for the call button, I see Jenevieve! She slips in and quietly shuts the door behind her.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to take so long,” she whispers. The chair makes a slight noise as she drags it closer. “Fudge,” I hear her remark. (I take a mental note that she must not use many curse words.)

I laugh. “You don’t have to worry now that you made it inside. Nurse Hun won’t be coming in to check on me until I’ve had the chance to get comfortable and fall asleep. She usually waits until around Three AM to wake me up just so she can tell me to go back to sleep.”

“You shouldn’t be so hard on her.”

“She tortures me for pleasure. Yes I do.”

“You’re tired, aren’t you?”

“You are not leaving. Sit,” I demand as I point to the chair.

She smiles pleasantly and sits down. “I just don’t want to keep you up if you’re tired,” she explains.

“I’m not tired. I’ve got nowhere to be in the morning, and since you’re already here, I rather talk than sleep.”

“Okay, but it’s my turn to ask some questions now.”

I don’t know if I like this idea, but she proceeds.

“Why hasn’t your family visited you?”

And that is why. “Do we have to talk about family? We’re not close. Let’s just leave it at that.”

“Why aren’t you close?”

“That’s not really leaving it.” It’s hard to look at her and not cave, but I really don’t want to talk about how fucked up my relationship is with my family. I would rather spend it talking about more pleasant things. She gets a big smile on her face, and I watch curiously as she picks up my wallet from the table next to my bed.

“Do you mind?” She asks, and then bites down on her bottom lip as she awaits my answer.

I shrug for her to proceed if she likes, “I think I have like five bucks….” I stop as I see her take out my driver’s license.

“Just learning a little bit about you….” She tilts her head as she examines my license. “So, Mr. St Claire, is it? And your middle name is….Francis?” Her big blue eyes peer up at me.

“It was my grandfather’s name.”

“Now I know two things I didn’t know a second ago.” She smiles and looks back down at my license, “….brown hair, blue eyes.” She switches her gaze back to me and observes my face, “I would say, rich chocolate waves with hues of golden chestnut, and I think your eyes are more….blue hazel; I can see little specks of yellow in them.” Suddenly, I’m feeling a little flushed. “So are you really 5’11?” She asks.


“Just asking….sometimes a driver’s license doesn’t have the most accurate details. Mine says I’m 5’6, but I’m really 5’5,” she smiles. “So who’s this?” she asks as she pulls out a rather worn picture of my ex. “Pretty girl,” she comments.


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