Short Story

The Cream-Colored Envelope

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I was late for work again. And it was because of my writing. It was going nowhere, and was again in the way of my “real” career as an ER nurse.

Enough! Never again!

I shoved my papers at the back of my drawer. I had five issues of nursing journals to read. I had to start studying for a nursing course. Everything had been put aside for my writing. And for what? Nothing!

Time to reset the clocks.

I stepped into the ER, smiling. I was already enjoying myself, and hadn’t even put my scrubs on. Who needs writing when you have this?

I checked the schedule. I was working in the Evaluation Room. I loved working there. It’s a big room with ten beds, where stable patients are put for a 24 hour observation period.

In bed eight, there was a 25 year-old young man. He was dying of terminal cancer. Yes, 25. It happens all the time, in my ER. He was in agony. All the drugs that I was pumping into him, all the hot packs and massages and repositioning weren’t working.

At ten, he told me that he was going to be fine. He was worried about me. I hadn’t gone for my supper break. He and the other nurse working the room forced me to go on break.

When I came back, he was again typing away on his laptop. He was a writer, you see. One way to treat his pain was for him to lose himself in his work. We talked about writing. I was the nurse, and he needed the care, so I didn’t burden him with my problems and listened to his. I made sure he had enough light and was comfortable. I finally left, frustrated that I couldn’t treat something as simple as pain.

The next shift, I learned that the young man had passed away. It saddened me, because I had looked forward to talking to him again.

During the evening, a woman came up to me. “You must be Sahar,” she said, smiling.

I noticed her red-rimmed eyes. “Yes, I am. How can I help you?”

She told me she was the mother of the young man. I told her how sorry I was about her loss. She reassured me and told me about the funeral and commemoration. It had all gone smoothly.

“There is one last thing to do,” she said, handing me a beautiful, cream envelope. “He wrote this for you. It was his last story.”

He told me, in the opening lines of the story, that it was for my eyes only. But I can tell you that it was about me and my struggles as a writer. He had somehow guessed accurately far more than I had told him. He gave me hope and inspiration, something that had been lacking lately in my writing.

Time to reset those clocks again.

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