The following scenes are both quite short so I thought I’d post them both. The first scene I wrote for pure pleasure, as a way of thumbing my nose at all the people in authority who have ever talked down to me. I only wish I could have had Miira’s chutzpah at the time! The second introduces my second main character, Kenneth Wu. He is what I imagine the great martial artist, Bruce Lee, might have been like if he’d been a doctor, and a little bit broken. Like the magnificent Rudolph Nureyev, Bruce Lee was, and is, one of my heroes. I make no apologies!
* * *
“Miss Tahn!” an unctuous voice proclaimed over the whup whup of the rotors.
“Ms Tahn,” Miira replied automatically as her gaze flicked up and down, taking in the wind-blown, silver hair and expensive, one-piece suit of the man in front of her. She was not impressed. Having worked as a nurse for most of her life she had learned to pick the good ones at a glance. This one would fawn all over her in public and ridicule her in private.
The next person Miira saw was a slightly frumpy looking nurse. The white coverall that all nurses wore did not suit her figure but her face looked kind rather than bossy. A good one.
“Welcome to Innerscape, Ms Tahn,” a younger male voice said.
There was genuine warmth underlying the formal words and when Miira looked past Silver Hair she was not really surprised to see the nice young Asian doctor she had met during the tour of the Catacombs. Now he was extending his hand towards her. Shaking hands was an old fashioned gesture and few young people used it any more but the young doctor made it look natural.
“Hi Doctor…?” Miira said as she clasped his hand and received a firm, dry squeeze in return. “I’m sorry, I’m hopeless with names but I do remember you from the Catacombs.”
“Kenneth Wu,” the doctor said with a grin.
A pointed cough from Silver Hair made Miira turn her head towards the older doctor.
“I’m Doctor Charles McGrath,” Silver Hair said as he thrust his own hand out to be shaken. “I’ll be taking you through the administrative formalities, so if you have any questions, please just ask.”
…not if I can help it…
“Thank you Dr. MacGrarr,” Miira said sweetly as she turned to the nurse and held out her hand. “And who is this?”
Behind Miira’s back Charles McGrath flushed a florid pink as he withdrew his hand, turning the gesture into a futile attempt to slick back his windblown hair.
“Hi Ms Tahn,” Emily said as she folded Miira’s small, bird-like fingers into her own large, warm hand. “I’m Emily, Charge Sister Emily Watson, and I’ll be your nursing liason until you enter Innerscape. Once you’re inside I’ll be keeping a special eye on you.”
“Thank you Emily,” Miira said. “That’s very reassuring. And please call me Miira. Now could we possibly get this over with? I’m feeling rather tired.”
“Of course!” Emily said. “Please come this way. Would you like a nice cup of tea before we begin?”
“Oh, that would be lovely,” Miira said as she directed the wheelchair away from the ambulance. “Come along Dr Wu! And you too Dr Mac.”
– – –
As Kenneth Wu followed the two women towards the vestibule of Innerscape, he could not resist glancing back at Charles McGrath, who was bringing up the rear of their small procession.
Miira Tahn had certainly put him in his place, and in such a subtle way that there was nothing Charles could do about it without looking even more foolish! Which was quite ironic as Charles had been bemoaning the crass behaviour of their new money patients just the other day. He had not mentioned Miira Tahn by name but all the staffers had guessed who he was talking about. Well, Ms Tahn might be new money, and a Refugee at that, but her style was very old money indeed. A lady with a capital ‘L’.
…and gutsy too…
Kenneth had received an angry dressing down from McGrath over the Catacombs debacle, but he knew he had been right. Some patients preferred to ignore the reality of their situation, maintaining a determined ignorance right to the end. However it had been obvious to him that Miira Tahn was not such a person. She would not have insisted on seeing the facility in all its glory if she had been one of the ‘dreamers’. She was a realist, one of those rare people who not only took strength from knowledge, but needed it as well. Nonetheless, the containment areas had shocked her, so the injection of a little humour, even twisted humour, had been a necessity. And it had worked because here she was.
Kenneth understood the need to know all too well. He had been just twelve when his mother died. The family had tried to shield him from the truth, but he had insisted on knowing everything, and had pestered his family and the medical staff until they finally gave in and told him what he wanted to know.
That truth had killed his last childish hope that a miracle might yet save his mother, but it had also given him a sort of emotional armour that had sustained him through her last, awful days. It had given him the strength to sit by her side, right to the end, so his words of love had been the last words she heard before she slipped into her final coma.
Since then, Kenneth had devoted his considerable intelligence and energy toward just one goal – easing the last moments of those without hope. He never obfuscated, never lied, never gave false hope, and yet from him, the truth became something empowering. Perhaps because he genuinely cared for all his patients, even the difficult ones.
Now, as their small group passed through the large double doors and headed towards the ‘drawing room’ where tea would be served, Kenneth felt a familiar regret that he would have only a short time in which to get to know this interesting woman.