“Good news, Ted. Your surgery is scheduled for tomorrow,” Dr. Grant announced.
“That’s great! I get to see your face, finally!” The doctor laughed.
“Yes, Ted. Then you would get to see again but let me remind you that there’s still a chance that…”
“I know, doctor; can’t you spare me a moment to rejoice in the thought of being whole again?”
“I’m sorry; forgive me,” he apologized.
“What time will the surgery start?”
“By 11:30a.m., why?”
“I just wanted to know if Lucia would be around at the time.”
“She should be.”
“Okay; that makes me feel better.”
“It seems you’ve taken a particular liking to her, am I right?”
“Yes I have; she’s a sweet person. I can’t wait to see her face…but I haven’t crossed any lines with her if that’s what you’re thinking…”
“Oh no, not at all; I’m actually glad she has been able to keep you happy and healthy all this while. It is good.”
Lucia entered Ted’s room to find him standing by the window. She almost panicked.
“Ted! What are you doing out of your bed? You could have hit something, you know,” she said as she rushed to his side.
“I’m fine, Lucia; and I have good news. My surgery is going to happen tomorrow at 11:30. You’ll be here, right?”
“Of course. That’s great news!”
“I want your voice to be the last one I hear before I go under the anesthesia and the first when I regain consciousness and also the first person I get to see when the bandages come off.”
“That’s a lot of responsibility but sure; it would be an honor, Ted,” Lucia said.
“Promise me you’ll be my side tomorrow.”
“I’ll do my best, Ted.” He held her and hugged her. Surprised, stood frozen for a few moments. He searched for her face and held it with both hands.
“Wait for me, Lucia Baker.”
“I’m here…I’ll always be here,” she assured him. She hugged him and patted his back. “Everything will be fine, Ted. There’s nothing to worry about.”
He kissed her neck. Lucia drew back.
“You’re not trying to get me fired for inappropriate behavior, are you Mr. Bourbon?”
“Well, that way, I can get to take you away with me when I’m discharged.” They both chuckled. She helped him get back in bed.
“You’re a funny man, Ted.”
“And you like me; I know it.”
“You’ve a very active imagination too; it’s good. It keeps you from getting depressed,” Lucia pointed out. He laughed.
“I’m going to have a wonderful dream today; I know it. Do you want to know what it is about?”
“You know what you’re going to dream about?”
“Oh yeah, I’ve a fair idea.”
“Good for you; you can tell me when you wake up. I’ve to go finish up some paperwork.”
“Sure; I’ll see you later then.” Lucia chuckled.
“Sure; sweet dreams, Ted.”
“Yeah,” Ted said with a big smile on his face.
Later in the evening, Lucia entered Ted’s room on her way home.
“Hey,” he responded as he took off his earphones.
“Are you done for the day?”
“Yeah; my shift’s over so I wanted to say goodbye.”
“Goodbye? We have a date tomorrow, remember?” She chuckled.
“How could I ever forget? Just wanted you to know I was leaving.”
“Okay; say see you soon; not goodbye because this isn’t going to be the last time we see each other.”
“Certainly not. And for the record, I think I’m going to miss you when you’re gone. You being here always made me have something to look up to when I’m coming to work. I know it’s mean but I’m glad you had to stay here as long as you’ve been.”
“I understand; the feeling’s mutual. Give me your hand.” She put her hand in his and he covered it with his. He brought it to his lips and kissed it.
“Please don’t stand me up tomorrow, Lucia. No matter what,” he pleaded.
“Don’t worry; I’ll be here earlier than usual.” She leaned forward and kissed his forehead.
“Is that a new incentive for patients who need surgery?” Ted asked. Lucia laughed.
“I know it’s inappropriate but I believe we are past nurse and patient right now, don’t you think?”
“So what would you call us then?”
“Why don’t we wait and talk about it when you regain your sight? Then you’d know exactly how the lady you’ve been talking to looks like.”
“Oh I know I won’t be disappointed.”
“Very optimistic; I like that. Goodnight, Ted Bourbon.”
“Goodnight, Lucia Baker.” She smiled and he squeezed her hand for the last time before letting go.
She walked out of the room, her heart elated with no reason why.
Lucia entered her apartment to find Allen lying on the couch, passed out and dead drunk.
“Oh boy, not again.” She put her bag down and walked over to him. She tried waking him up but he was too blotto to budge. She sighed and removed his shoes. She went for a blanket from the bedroom and covered him. She entered her room and closed the door.
She sighed again as the water from the shower rained on her body.
Tomorrow is going to be a great day, she thought. Ted is going to see again.
What was going to happen next? Would they become friends?
She tried to picture how her life was going to be after tomorrow but nothing came to mind. Her mind just went blank.
Why can’t I imagine anything? Is it because it is not meant to be or something will go wrong?
She gasped at the thought. Dr. Grant mentioned there were risks involved with the surgery. What if Ted didn’t make it? She brushed the thought aside as she ran her fingers through her hair.
Tomorrow will be fine, she told herself.
Early the next morning, Allen entered the bedroom to find Lucia dressing up.
“Where are you off to so early?” He asked.
“Good hangover morning to you too, Allen.”
“I’m not hangover; I’m just a little drowsy…”
“Yeah right; I’m going to work, where else?”
“At this hour?”
“Yeah; there’s a major surgery scheduled for today so I’ve to report early to prep the patient for it.”
“Okay; Lucy…I need some money.”
“What? What happened to what I gave you two days ago?”
“Well a couple of friends came around so I decided to…”
“You decided to show off by buying them drinks round after round?” She completed the sentence for him.
“Look at me….look at me, Allen! Do I look like a human bank to you? I work my head off every day just to have you rip it off me like I’m some kind of slave. I can’t do this anymore, Allen,” She said as she took her bag and headed towards the door.
“No wait,” he said, stopping her.
“What do you mean you can’t?”
“It means I’ve no more money to give you and it’s time you moved out, Allen. Find a job and be a man.”
“Excuse me, did you just demean my manhood?”
“Demean? If there was any to even demean, I would be glad. I’m leaving and I don’t want to see you or anything of yours here by the time I get back and I believe that’s a lot of hours so please get right to it.”
“Are you asking you me out of your place?”
“After everything I’ve done for you?”
“I do appreciate all that but I believe and I’m sure you agree that I’ve paid my due. Please go find a job or else, leave. You’re becoming too much of a burden for me to handle right now.”
“Did you just call me a…” The last word coincided with a heavy slap across Lucia’s face. She screamed and fell.
“How dare you…” He stopped when he heard her head hit the bed with the sound of a heavy thud. He looked at her to find her quiet.
“Lucia…are you okay?” She didn’t respond. He touched her face and turned her head. He felt something moist at the tips of his fingers.
“Oh no…Lucia…wake up, please!”
Lucia felt herself being pulled out of her body. The last image she had on her mind before she blacked out was that of Ted’s eyes.