This is the twelfth part of a fiction serial, in 730 words.
I followed the ginger-haired nurse into her room, and gazed at her green eyes as she asked me questions. I was trying to focus on her name badge, and finally worked out that it read ‘R. Maclaren’. Ignoring her question about whether or not I had lost consciousness, I asked her what the ‘R’ stood for. She carried on without answering, looking at the cut with a slim torch, and telling me I was going to need stitches. The rest was a blur, to be honest. The combination of beer and a long day had kicked in, and I was having trouble keeping it together.
There were some small injections, and I had to lie down on a small bed. A feeling of pulling above my left eyebrow, as I ran my eyes up and down the blue surgical clothes she was wearing. I mostly remembered her teeth, which were white and even, and that hair of course. I didn’t feel any pain until I got the Tetanus injection in the top of my right buttock. That seemed to snap me back, and I stupidly just blurted out a request for her phone number. My speech was slurred, and I must have looked like shit, and stunk of beer. She politely told me that she made it a rule never to date any patients she treated, as she stuck something over the stitches.
Then she gave me a sheet of information about head injuries, and said I should see my own doctor to get the stitches removed. The next thing I knew I was standing in the car park, shivering in the early morning air. When a taxi dropped someone at the entrance, I walked over and asked if he would take me home. Seeing as I looked like I had been on a battlefield, I thought he might decline. But he smiled and nodded. It was late that night when I woke up. My head was throbbing, and I took a long hot bath thinking about that nurse. As I ate my way through half a loaf of bread and four eggs later, I hatched a plan.
That Sunday, I spruced myself, looking as best as I could with a big white bandage stuck to my face. After a microwave meal early evening, I drove into town, and parked around the back of Euston Station on a meter bay. After half past six, and on Sundays, you didn’t have to pay to park there. I walked up to the Tesco Express on the main road, and bought all the bunches of flowers still for sale in the buckets outside, along with a very big box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. I also got a blank card, with an abstract design on it. Using a sheet of wrapping paper brought from home, I combined all the bunches into one huge bunch of flowers, and wrote a little message on the card.
‘Sorry about last night. I would still like to know what the ‘R’ stands for, and maybe you could give me your number, now I am not a patient you are treating?’ I signed it ‘Frankie’, and wrote ‘For Nurse R. Maclaren’ on the envelope. I waited in the short queue to get to the reception desk, and when I handed it all over, the elderly woman grinned at her colleague on the next seat. “Pop out the back and give these to Becky, would you?” She looked back up at me and said, “I suppose you had better sit down and wait”. I sat down with a grin. I knew the answer to that ‘R’ now. Rebecca.
Five minutes went by, and the second receptionist returned with the card I had sent through. “Becky says she is too busy, but she wrote something in this”. I thanked her, and walked outside, slipping the card out to read it immediately. ‘Thanks for the flowers and chocolates. Here’s a number you can get me on, but I am making no promises. Best to text first, as I never know when I can answer the phone. B.’ I put the number into my phone straight away, and walked back to the car with a smile so wide it made my face ache.
And I was patient. I didn’t text her until I was on my way to work the next morning.