“Aren’t you coming in today?” he asked.
Pulling a long, uneventful double shift on Christmas Day, he tried not to sound beseeching, but he wanted something to do.
Shellie had appeared at the ER every day last week and said she was suicidal. On some days she had scratches on her wrist. They had talked, and every night she slept in the hospital bed. Every morning she woke, feeling better. Every day, they let her go, but a few hours later she was back. There was nothing wrong with her except she thought there was something wrong with her. Shellie was one of those hopeless cases who give everyone fits.
“No,” she said, “Everything’s fine. Do you want me to come in?”
“Not if you don’t have to. You were upset about it being the Holidays with your family not talking to you. Did you hear from them?”
“No, they’re not going to call. I was just listening to Christmas music. Everything’s fine.”
“How can you be suicidal all week and feeling fine now?”
“It’s Christmas. I wanted everything to be special today, so, I’m not in the hospital. That’s special.”
That’s just crazy, he wanted to say. Why don’t you just say every day is special? He wanted to say it, but he didn’t. Instead, he said Merry Christmas.
“See you tomorrow,” she said.
He turned on the radio, but it was all ads.
He still had the extension cord and, over his head, he still had the ceiling; but no one wants to find a hung man on Christmas Day. Against all reason, today was special after all.