June sat staring out the 4th floor window at the street below. Outside the the September night air was cool as it readied itself for the pink of the morning skies. Lomas Boulevard stretched before University Hospital. The road was one of the main arteries through the city of Albuquerque. It started at the base of the Sandia Mountains in the east and followed a straight line going west downward toward the Rio Grande. Albuquerque like many cities in the southwest streets where laid out on a grid. If one where to look deeper at the landscape one would find 19 Indian Pueblos along the Rio Grande, the oldest recorded human settlements in the USA. Which were much later invaded by the Spanish in the 1600’s. Each Pueblo evidenced the arrival of the Spanish by a Church in the main square.
The petroglyphs on the rocks from these indigenous peoples lay like a serpent on the west side of the city, always threatened by the advancement of these grid streets. After an equilibrium had been achieved by the Native Americans and the Spanish, the dessert woke up again with the next group of new arrivals being the scientists and military associated with the Manhattan project creating the Sandia and Los Alamos Laboratories and base system. Others came also, artists and retirees and modern Mexican immigrants crossing the dessert border.
The established old Spanish families and even older Native American families momentarily stopped their historical feuding to observe these new arrivals with caution. Lomas Boulevard with its sleek linear construction hid the complex history of the region that lay underneath. There was always more than to be seen by first glance mused June. She had learned to read tarot cards and often said in unison with friends, “Fortuna let us off your wheel”. When the undercurrents and unseen forces of life had one up or down. June was finishing her second round of charting when she caught her reflection in the glass. Her angular features and slight overbite gave her a friendly expression. She had shoulder length light brown hair with a few strands of grey. She race walked for exercise but always struggled with a weight problem. Because she was tall it was not noticeable in her nursing scrubs. She reviewed the mandatory check lists on each patient based on her physical assessments done at the beginning of the shift.
The rhythm of the night nurses and techs followed a pattern. First the hectic day to night shift, nurse to nurse report, and then passing the dinner trays and the pain medications that people needed before sleep, gently chasing out the visitors at 9PM. Followed by assessments and writing their observations for the start of the shift in each chart. Things started to quiet down around 10 PM. Yet, with last minute late night X-Rays and linen changes everyone did not have a spare minute until after midnight. Often antibiotics where stocked and intervenous fluids where readied for the night and early morning. Everyone seemed to seek out a quiet place by the wee hours and then they started their breaks and going outside for cigarettes for the people who smoked. It was during these times that they often celebrated birthdays or years of service in small potlucks. Than about around dawn patients started waking up and it would get busy again.
June glanced at her watch and it read 2AM. “I’m going to Paris---I’m a different person to myself in Paris.” She whispered to herself out loud as she sat at the window. She had worked at University Hospital as a nurse for 15 years, the most recent years on the orthopedics floor. It was her last night, she hoped. Maybe. She had asked that they freeze her benefits for a year in case she failed and had to come back. The American nursing license and French nursing license where different. So she could not work in France as a nurse. June was leaving for Paris the next day on a one way ticket and a student visa. She had a dream of having an apartment in Paris. The fantasy that played in her head went something like this: it was a lazy afternoon, she would have a cup of mint tea and paint her self portrait while listening to the radio, the street scenes of Paris unfolding in the distance. email@example.com
copywright 2011 (all comments appreciated here or on facebook) erk, I did it, I did my two pages of revisions today!