I knew I was going to die even before the doctor came to tell me. I had heard him talking about it when the knock out gas was wearing off. He had said that I had about a year left to live, which meant that I would be dead by the time I turned twenty.
Oh the irony of all of this. First you read a book about how boys get to live until they are twenty five and the girls only until they are twenty.
When the doctor did come to tell me that I would be dead in a year, he kept it quick and simple.
“Miss. Raymond,” he began.
“Call me Ray, Doctor...”
“Mitchel and very well mi-Ray. You have one year till you die.”
“Ray, I know that you are scared but you don’t have to hide it. After all-”
“I’m not hiding anything! I’m not afraid of death and the only thing that I’m hiding is how much I’m afraid of is being here for another minute!”
“Now Miss Raymond-”
“And will you please stop calling me Miss. Raymond? That’s my sister’s name!”
I couldn’t help it. My sister had always been the Miss. Raymond and I had just been plain Ray. I had been called Ray ever since my fraternal twin sister had called me Ray when we were three. And since then I had always been Ray. I had the image printed into my mind of her face whenever someone had called me Miss. Raymond. Her face would scrunch up and she would say loud enough so that everyone within ten feet would hear her say, ‘Her name is Ray. I’m Miss. Raymond.’
The doctor looked startled and then his face went stern. “You will stay here as long as I say you need to.” And with that the doctor left.
“We’ll see about that.” I muttered to myself as the door closed behind him.
Sometime in the afternoon a new volunteer comes into my room bringing a tray of food with her. She was wearing gray scrubs and bright blue convers. Her blond hair was pulled up into a pony tail and she was wearing pink lip gloss.
“How are you today Miss. Raymond?”
“The name’s Ray and I would be a lot better if I could go home. And you are?”
“Abby Mitchel. And I’m sorry that you’re not better, I hope that you can go home as soon as possible.”
“Thanks. So, what is for lunch today?”
“Chicken, green beans, mash potatoes and some gravy.”
“Sounds…good.” I replied as my stomach growled its agreement.
She laughs and puts the tray on the table that swings over the bed.
After about ten minutes of eating the thing that hospitals call food I finally finish. Surprisingly the food was good. Unlike the other three days that I’ve had to eat in this hospital.
“So, how long have you been here?” She begins.
“Three days? How do you stand it?”
“I was able to stand it. That was until this morning.”
“I don’t mean to pry, but could you tell me what happened?” I shrug and tell her the whole thing.
“I can’t believe you said that at Doctor Mitchel.”
“Because, nobody talks to him like that. It’s just not done.”
“Well, now somebody has.”
“True.” She opens her mouth to say something else but then the door opens, and in comes Dr. Mitchel.
“Abby, I think it’s time you went back to your job.”
“Oh, you’re right. Well, I’ll be going then.” Abby said, took the tray and walked out the door.
“So what’s the news on me?”
“We are just going to do one more test on you that will only last about twenty minutes and then you can go home.”
He nods and then just stands there looking uncomfortable, then he turns around and leaves.