A Thank You Card I. The Friend told the Nurse that he believed in her in the lengthy walk they took along the river: How could you think of me as duplicitous? The river intensified the nausea, but most of all, the guilt that no black forest cake or clam chowder could ever fix. Soon, she realized that the only one of them she trusted, who cared so much about patients dying from the higher-ups’ cover-ups, was following a wrought script, which read Break Her. She could no longer look herself in the mirror. Can’t this wait till normal business hours?, he asked. People are fucking dying! II. Her Friend was two persons in one: a kind Friend and a cold Doctor. The Nurse protested that people were dying. You are being too sensitive. Can’t you move on? As her Friend lied through his teeth, the Nurse sought to sweep mines with her toes. She ate mounds of chocolate instead of lunch. Her Mama took away the chocolate box and cooed. Still the helplessness gnawed at her spirit. She goaded, she pleaded, she even threatened— everything but falling to her knees and kowtowing. Still her Friend didn’t budge, calling it an interpersonal conflict-turned legitimate concern a three-hour walk later. She couldn’t coat her upset with honey. III. Poor communication: the compass rose to which she was pinned, when wasn’t the problem that she made herself too clear? Her Friend took her back to the emerald green house, blindfolded. She was slapped for not finding the bedroom, knocked out for complaining about the faulty mental map. The Friend fed her the elixir of comfort as she grew dependent on his friendship. The Doctors removed her first by removing her from the practice group, then by creating a new group without her. She realized No prayer will ever do anything, if the bureaucrat is leading the decent human in you by the nose. Inexperienced and unattuned to the industry, she said No to her Friend’s pills for the third time and prayed. IV. Her Friend cursed just like Master who planned the future with Odyssean cunning. Her Friend took long, fast strides. He bent low to help the patients to their feet while the other Doctors stood by. The Friend told the Nurse he could never say what he meant: when he was her only way out of this double bind maze. She wasn’t blind to the little favors he did for Mama which disoriented her. If only he could stop his off-script kindness, was that too part of the game? Towards the end, the Nurse got her friend a card with scorpion grass the grey-blue of his eyes. Nowadays, she imitates his style and signs off: In kindness and with respect. V. This will most likely be our last meeting as friends because I can no longer trust you. The Nurse put the card away in her drawers before taking it out and putting it back again. The grey-blue petals: her Friend and the patients. She downed Mama’s earl grey with too much cream. She didn’t say this to her Friend, but she would still jump the lake if drowning was his happily ever after. But she couldn’t wave the white flags. She must stay sane, to listen to that ever-louder clangor, to see with her eyes that vain duplicity. The blue bells bloom and shred her soul into card-stock pieces.
About the Author: Tiffany Troy is an interviewer and reviewer. Her interviews and reviews are published/ forthcoming from The Adroit Journal, The Cortland Review, The Los Angeles Review, EcoTheo Review, and Tupelo Quarterly, where she serves as an associate editor.
Image Credit: Hilma af Klint “Evolution, No. 13, Group VI” (1908) Public Domain