The Naked Apple

Repoting from the modern middle class

Nurse Megan Says – Stop Smoking!

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Megan and Nisa work at a hospital in Richmond; they rehabilitate men returning from Iraq who are unable to move their arms and legs.  Nisa is forty years old and enjoys talking to me about her work.  She has ten years service with the Army medical corps, tended to soldiers in two Gulf wars and picked up the pieces from numerous conflicts in the Balkans.  Megan is twenty three and more interested in pushing me on to the bar’s dance floor.

The women assume the man standing to my left is a friend from New York; in reality we met at the bar upstairs about an hour ago.  He is a banker from Connecticut appraising two Virginia venture capital funds that his father-in-law wants to buy. 

I find Megan fascinating; she is both beautiful and interested in me.  But more than this, she is two separate lives that she has unknowingly combined into one.  With the relaxed talk of a recently retired bar tender she flips her conversation between two sides of a vinyl record.  On Side A, she is s buying a Coach handbag with her a tax refund check and getting drunk in Times Square for the first time. On Side B she is washing bodies that don’t move anymore and explaining what days are like without a set of bowels.  It strikes me as cruel when she refers to an ex-boyfriend as a douche bag.

With an Orthodox wedding ring on my right hand, the bar incorrectly decides I am the perfect British bachelor and that Megan and I should be together.  My acquaintance from Connecticut has been relegated to just, interesting as he wears his wedding ring on the more conventional left hand.  Later on when Megan lies naked in my arms, I will bury my guilty right hand deep beneath the pillows.

Around midnight Megan drives Nisa home, I offer to pay for a taxi but Megan insists she is sober enough to drive.  She drives us north of the city on the neon flood lit highway, two three friends call Megan on the car speakerphone to make sure she is alright.  On the ride back to my hotel, I flip through her iPod.   I play the chorus from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  The roof is open, she sings along in key and I point out a lone star in the empty sky.

We arrive at the hotel and I pass on a last cigarette.  I don’t want to have sex just hold her for a little while. Like responsible virgins, we decide to wait for sex until we meet again in Disney World where she will wear her tiara all day and everybody will call her princess.  The hotel suite is a little bigger than my apartment in New York and I suggest we just stay here forever instead.

I am heavily buzzed up on Nicotine and we sleep for no more than 2 hours.  Somewhere between wake and sleep, I tell her things I don’t know about myself and she patiently listens.  I also talk about smoking.

“I smoked, then I stopped and ran the marathon which was pretty cool.  Then I started again but stopped when I was boxing in Brooklyn.  And I then I started again last December – just a pack or so when I’m drunk but not during the day.  It’s a bugger really.”

She begins to gasp impressively, asphyxiating herself.

“That’s what your last breath will be like.”

“Doesn’t bother me – what worries me is two years of dying like that.”

“Every time you want to smoke – just go…” she begins asphyxiating herself again.  Since last Thursday, her method has worked for me.

We wake and I wonder what it would be like to look at this face every day unable to move a limb; how many empty hours would I spend in the delusion of getting up and kissing her lips.

The hotel clock says our time is up; we walk to her car and say goodbye.  My plane ticket to Florida is still not booked.

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Written by The Naked Apple

February 23, 2009 at 11:37 am

Posted in life

Tagged with , , , , ,

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