I remember the day he came onto the unit. The handsome neurosurgeon. He was from the West Indes, but he looked like he was from India. He was joining the medical staff. I was just a physical therapist. Some of his patients would need my services.
He was very professional and all about doing his job. He accepted all patients that came to him. He was confident in everything he did. He usually had a couple of residents from general surgery working alongside him. I would briefly see him whenever he was done or between patients in the OR to check on a patient on the floor. Otherwise, I would see him on morning rounds where he usually waited for my report on how certain patients were doing with rehabilitation.
I’ll always remember the day the department wanted a picture of the neurosurgery staff for the wall in the lounge. I have always been a bit camera shy, so held back hoping to not get in the picture. He reached out and beckoned me in next to him. He was on my right, and gently laid his hand behind my left shoulder. He kept it there, even after the picture was done as others started dispersing. He stood there. I felt awkward moving away from him. Although I felt honored that he embraced me in that way. I felt valuable to the team.
He was talking to the camera man, then he finally turned to me. His hand was still on my shoulder.
“These wonderful people are the reason I can do my job well.” he said, referring to me as one of them. He had glistening eyes as he took an intimate look into mine. I stepped back because now that we were facing each other, we were in each other’s personal space, kissing distance. I envisioned myself in an out-of-body mode, reaching forward and kissing him. He was strikingly handsome. His kindness, gentle skill with his hands, and intelligence were all a turn-on for me. But I stepped back away. He immediately dropped his hand.
The following weeks he continued to being focused on his patients. He managed to clear a backlog of surgeries waiting almost a year to be done. The patients’ well-being came before anything else. There was a day his schedule was full of complicated surgeries. We were all there well beyond our usual work hours. I had to help my shift replacement organize the orders for the evening. It so happened later, we were headed to the parking lot at the same time. He had a parking spot close to the hospital. I had one further out. He called out to me. I turned, he came trotting forward, holding his briefcase.
“You aren’t going out there in the dark by yourself,” he said. Then he suggested that I should have called for a security escort. Again, I felt awkward, because my car was far into the parking lot. Here the neurosurgeon was walking me to my car. I really would have rathered him not. I was cautious enough and always kept my eyes far into the distance.
“Do you live far?” he asked.
“No,” I answered. “Just five minutes away.”
“I have a thirty minute drive.” he commented, shaking his head. “I didn’t realize the traffic would be so congested. Since it’s night, I’m sure I’ll get there in fifteen.” he smiled. I couldn’t focus on what he was saying because I wanted to hurry and get to my car, plus… what do I do when I get in?… Do I offer him a ride back to his car? I hated being in these awkward situations.
We finally got there. I went on and offered the ride. There was no harm in that. He declined and bid me a nice evening and headed back to his car. I hesitated starting my car. I certainly didn’t want to pass him walking. I waited a couple of minutes, then backed out. He was almost to his car. Instead of passing him, I rolled down my window, slowed down, and thanked him again. He waved and shook his head, saying no problem.
As luck would have it, that weekend I saw him at the local Barnes and Noble. He was sitting there in the cafe section reading a newspaper and wearing his glasses low on his nose. I tapped on his table and waved. He invited me to sit down. I couldn’t decline after he shifted some books and magazines he had there onto a chair. I put down my books then went to the counter to order my coffee.
It turned out to be a very nice afternoon. We talked about a lot of things, outside of our work. Since he wasn’t born in America, he was intrigued with my knowlege of American History. I was impressed with his thirst for knowlege, and how he knew a little about a lot of things.
Toward the end, he asked me out on a dinner date. I was stunned. A handsome doctor, single, whom a lot of the women staff had been whispering about, asked me out? I wasn’t even in the top twenty of the beautiful women who had been admiring him. How did he come to pick me? Well, he did. and his interest was real.
We went out on several dates after that and realized that we got along well with each other. He was a true gentleman. One thing, he never flaunted his money. He didn’t have a fancy car, or even a fancy home. He lived in a small condominium that he kept neat and clean, with mainstream furniture and electronics.
Each day, we became more and more connected to each other. He couldn’t wait to see me, nor I, him. We kept up with what each other was doing during and after work. We shared so much. We became not just a couple in love, but best friends. We went hiking and sight-seeing together. We came to care for each other so much that we wanted to journey through the rest of our lives together. We had not consummated our relationship and were trying our best to hold off for when it was the right time. We would cuddle on the sofa as we read or watched television. The sheer possibilites of us being more intimate was stimulating to my imagination. It made for an alluring tension.
A year and a half later, he finally proposed. We had a beautful wedding. Everyone, including the hospital staff was there to witness our official union into a married couple. They had witnessed our journey from the beginning. At work, I would feel a tinge in my heart when I would see him. We shared ‘I love you’s’, and kissed when ever we parted and rejoined each other.
Our first year of marriage, I give birth to our beautiful daughter, Joni René . She was the light of our lives. We made her during times of immense love we had for each other. We raised her the same way we lived, modestly.
We didn’t have a large house or large car. We bought basic toys like dolls and kitchen sets for her. My husband was very big into philanthropy and we donated a great deal to certain charities. We spent money modestly, secured our futures, and college for Joni René . We volunteered once a month at the local homeless shelter.
When Joni was eight years old, I had decided to surprise my husband with a birthday dinner. His secretary phoned me later that afternoon to tell me that he had a late case that day that would go into the evening hours. I decided to take a plate and some wine to his office and we could sit at his desk with two forks and have his birthday dinner together. I got everything ready, fixed myself up, grabbed our meal and stored it in a soft thermal case, grabbed the bottle of wine, and his birthday gift, and headed to the hospital.
I got to the floor where his office was. If I had known then what I know now, I would have stopped there and turned around. The nurses looked at me with secrecy in their eyes. I thought their eagerness was to see me surprise him. They didn’t stop me. I think they wanted to see drama unfold. Well, it did to some degree.
I got to his door and opened it, not expecting to see him there. My jaw dropped. My hands and arms lost tone so I dropped everything I was holding onto the floor. The wine bottle shattered. I felt a sharp sting against my ankle. My vision became warped but then back into focus.
There he was leaning against a nurse sitting on his desk. They were kissing. His hands were around her back and under her top.
I ran back down the hall to the elevator. I pushed the down button ferociously. My mind couldn’t think. I just had the visual. My heart wasted no time going into an ache. I thought I was having a heart attack. My legs were trembling as I rode down the elevator. I walked fast and awkwardly down the front entry to the parking lot My heels were high and I sprained my ankle as I ran to my car. I got in quickly. I looked back, and I didn’t see him coming after me.
Stay tuned for Part II…