Friday evening I had to make a great effort not to die of happiness. Remember the blue-eyed nurse I’ve told you about in my last post? Well, after reading your comments and taking into account the results of the poll, Friday afternoon I summoned up my courage and dashed through the rain to the clinic under the pretext of getting printed my latest blood tests, though the true reason of my visit was to see her and bring her the story I had written about her. An ingenious, witty, innocent, and romantic story with her as the protagonist, which I decided was a more cautious present than the roses David had suggested and many of you sanctioned.
After a trip on foot and by bus through the rain, I found myself pushing open the door of the clinic and stepping inside, my heart in my mouth. It was about a quarter to six, the hour at which the clinic closes. The blue-eyed nurse sat alone at the reception desk.
‘I’ve come for the results!’ I said in one breath, beaming at the sight of her.
She smiled, knowing I was lying – I could have effortlessly called the clinic and received the results by mail.
My Anti-CMV IgG antibodies were quite abundant, but I could not care less about them. I lifted my eyes from the medical paper and looked at her.
‘It’s Friday afternoon and it’s raining,’ I observed, at which she smiled some more.
You see, on our previous encounter earlier in the week I had promised that Friday it would rain and I would bring her the story about the nurse. I got the weather right. God bless weather apps!
After handing her some printed papers and the USB flash drive with the story, she said she had to close the place up and catch the bus – alone in clinic with her, if you can imagine such a thing! – at which I sagely asked,
‘Do you have an umbrella? Would you mind if I walked with you to the bus station, which happens to be my destination as well?’
She got up from her chair and walked to the window, through which she peered attentively.
‘I think the rain has stopped.’
‘Certainly not!’ I assured her. ‘On this street it may have somewhat abated, but on the streets around the bus station it’s pouring rain.’
She looked over her shoulder at me and smiled.
‘If you do mind, it’s okay,’ I sighed. ‘I’ll slunk home alone through the rain…’
‘I need to change and close up,’ she said. ‘I can’t leave you here alone.’
Thus it was that she marched me to the door. When we reached it she said,
‘It will take a while before I dress. I think you should go.’
So saying, she locked the door behind me. I waited by the door, one minute, two, three, five, six, about seven I think, looking worried at the abating rain, and then the door opened, and lo and behold, the rain suddenly intensified, and out came the blue-eyed nurse, surprisingly small and delicate in her street clothes, shorter than me in fact, wearing the tiniest of black slippers. She looked worried at the rain. She had no umbrella.
And so chivalrous me unfolded my umbrella, which looked like a raven with its wings outspread, and I placed it above her head, and on we proceeded through the rain.
‘Are you ashamed of walking with me on the street?’ I asked her.
I meant it. She’s three years older than me, mind you, and I am exceedingly thin at present.
‘Of course not,’ she said in a reassuring tone.
So it was that we proceeded through the rain, I holding the umbrella above her head, and she walking close to me, so close that her left shoulder and arm rubbed on my right shoulder and arm. As you know, I am an exceedingly shy and socially awkward person, but somehow I became quite relaxed in her presence, and I dare say much of the inner tension that had been gnawing at me til then vanished.
‘There are moments in a person’s life when he would like to slow down time,’ I said philosophically at the beginning of our journey, and then, looking at her, I added, ‘This is one of them. Would that our journey to the bus station would take forever, or at least a century, that we may move in slow motion…’
‘Okay but I have to catch the bus!’
‘Your boyfriend awaits you doesn’t he?’ I mumbled.
‘No, I’m going to an old people’s home 20 kilometres away.’
‘Do you have someone there?’
‘Part time job. I’ll stay there over the weekend. I have a room there.’
As you can imagine, this explanation did not displease me at all. And so we walked through the rain under my providential umbrella, conversing for about 10 minutes, before reaching the bus station, under whose protective cover we spent ten more minutes, during which she told me she would like to work in an oncology department because her mother had died of cancer four years ago. Suddenly, the prospect of having cancer did not seem to me that grim anymore.
‘Here, take my umbrella. You’ll need it more than me’
‘You’ll get wet,’ she said.
‘Don’t worry about me. You can return it Monday, when I’ll come again to the clinic for more tests.’
She took it.
We talked some more and then the bus came and off she went, the tiny blue-eyed nurse, running through the rain, taking my heart with her.
No, we didn’t kiss, but then I don’t care much for kissing right now. You know well enough that feeling of mutual understanding and romantic friendship that occurs sometimes between two people. It beats kissing.
Afterward I was so pleased with how the universe had arranged my evening that I did not go home but wandered through the streets for about an hour, without an umbrella, getting drenched while savoring the recollection of her different facial expressions.
When I eventually reached home, I rested for a while, and then in the night, when I checked my inbox, lo and behold, a new email from the blue-eyed nurse (I had cleverly inserted my email address into the story, which by the way, I think was excellently written and paid her many compliments subtly), saying she had read the story and calling me, of all things, wonderful.
Happiness surged in me and made my heart boom-boom, so much so that I thought I would have a heart attack. It was as if for once, the universe conspired to my advantage. The rain, the umbrella, the story, everything. For once my efforts were not thwarted. It was with great difficulty that I managed to fall asleep and wake up again.
In the end, I declare Woody Allen was right when he observed that,
“80% of life is showing up.”
Tomorrow I must visit the clinic once more. I can’t wait to be pricked again.