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A Death Note Today

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Dana stood in the shower, the scorching hot water gushing down her head and back.  The spray invaded her face, tickling her eyes and nose, pooling at her mouth.  She breathed in fits and starts, adamant that the water should cleanse her of the day's turmoil.  Three surgeries later and she was still strong and sure.  The buzz was gradually wearing off as it did at the same time every day: when thoughts of home crept into her mind.

Strong and sure.

Her neck ached.  Her shoulders and her back ached.  Her arms and legs ached all the way down to her aching feet.  It was times like these that she would relish the journey home, just to feel his hands work all of the sores out of her body.

The water concealed the tears falling, as now the prospect of returning home seemed more daunting than ever.  She was silent in her cries, shoulders barely shuddering until she heard the door to the changing room open. She pulled herself together.  Strong and sure.  She stepped out, towel wrapped around her as she fussed with her underwear.

In the locker room, a huddle of women had just entered, chatting about the success of the day.  She smiled when they congratulated her on her performance in surgery.  They invited her out for a drink with some other colleagues, which she gracefully declined.  She acted as they knew her to be: stoic, strong and sure.

She dressed in the suit she had arrived in: a smart navy number with shoes to match and a pale blue shirt.  Her hands glided down her jacket, smoothing out the creases, watching in the mirror of the locker door as the suit fitted her form and accented all of her features.  Dana was sure she was the only one that noticed these days.

It was already dark out and the winter air was stale and biting.  Her footsteps echoed in the car park, pacing towards the inevitable.  She opened the door and sat in the driver's seat– an occurrence rare in the motion of her life.  The engine started, rumbling as she made her way away from the hospital and down the inevitable road home.

 

.....

 

The gravel crunched under the tires of the long driveway up to their unremarkable house.  Her stomach fell into a pit when she saw the same single light shining through the window of the study, the rest of their home a whisper of death.

She wrapped her long coat around her, clutching at the warmth as she made her way up the steps.  The door creaked open and then shut again behind her.  The keys clinked as they landed in the bowl on the side.  She sighed and took off her coat, considering whether to announce her arrival. 

"I'm home!" she eventually shouted.

A vague scuffle and a grunt made itself known from behind the study door.  It could have been mistaken for nothing.

She progressed towards the kitchen with thoughts of making something edible before she spent the night alone and went to bed.

 

.....

 

In the morning, the winter sun didn't stream through the windows.  It was as dark and cold as the night before it.  The void pulled her out of unconsciousness, programming her for the day ahead.  She lifted his heavy arm from around her abdomen and sat up on the edge of their bed.  Her feet dangled off the side, just touching the floor.  She stood slowly, the bed creaking under her movements.  He stirred from his sleep, looking up to acknowledge her as she groggily walked away. 

In the bathroom, she followed the same routine, filling the sink with water, sometimes warm, sometimes not.  She scratched her skin with soap and a flannel, taking extra care to rub her face raw.  She followed with the toothbrush and toothpaste, mercilessly cleansing her mouth of the old morning breath.  She hid herself behind her elegant clothes.  And she left to go to the hospital.

 

.....

 

By midday, it felt like a week had passed.  Everyone was buzzing; the atmosphere was electric.  A surgery complete: a success.  She stood surrounded by doctors and surgeons and anaesthetists, all peeling their gloves off as she peeled her gloves off.  Her fingers itched to get free and breathe again.  They firmly traced around her back, toying with the sash to untie her scrubs.  Glancing at the clock with a smile, thoughts of chicken caesar salad migrated their way from her brain down to her stomach.  She removed her apron and then her cap, liberally shaking her hair loose, and sighed in relief; free at last.

The noise in the canteen wrapped Dana like a security blanket.  It was comfy and cosy, offering a place of protection, a place to hide in plain sight.  She gradually trudged forward, one foot in front of the other, snaking around until she was greeted with an array of rich aromas and alluring delicacies.  She chose her favourite- the salad. 

Across the room, a group of her colleagues waved her over.  She hesitated for half a second before joining them at their table. She talked and smiled and laughed occasionally at the half-decent jokes. And before she knew it, her break was over.

 

.....

 

Dana stood in the shower, the scorching hot water gushing down her head and back.  The spray invaded her face, tickling her eyes and nose, pooling at her mouth.  She breathed in fits and starts, adamant that the water should cleanse her of the day's turmoil.  She was still strong and sure.

Strong and sure.

Her neck ached.  Her shoulders and her back ached.  Her arms and legs ached all the way down to her aching feet.  It was times like these that she would relish the journey home, just to feel his hands.

The water concealed the tears falling.   She was silent in her cries, shoulders shuddering,  the prospect of returning home daunting.  Strong and sure.

In the locker room, a huddle of women had just entered, chatting about the success of the day.  She smiled when they congratulated her on her performance in surgery.  She acted as they knew her to be: stoic, strong and sure.

She dressed in the suit she had arrived in.  Her hands glided down her jacket, smoothing out the creases, watching in the mirror as the suit fitted her form and accented all of her features.  Dana was sure she was the only one that noticed these days.

It was already dark out and the winter air was stale and biting.  She opened the door and sat in the driver's seat.  The engine started, rumbling as she made her way away from the hospital and down the inevitable road.

 

.....

 

The gravel crunched under the tires of the long driveway up to their unremarkable house.  Her stomach fell into a pit, their home a whisper of death.

She made her way up the steps.  The door creaked open and then shut again behind her.  The keys clinked.  She sighed.  She took off her coat, considering whether to announce her arrival. 

"I'm home!"  she eventually shouted.

Nothing.

She progressed towards the kitchen. She spent the night alone and went to bed.

 

.....

 

In the morning, the void pulled her out of unconsciousness, programming her for the day ahead.  She lifted his heavy arm from around her abdomen and sat up on the edge of their bed.  She stood slowly, the bed creaking under her movements.  He stirred from his sleep as she groggily walked away.

In the bathroom, she filled the sink with water, sometimes warm, sometimes not.  She scratched her skin with soap and a flannel.  She mercilessly cleansed her mouth of the old morning breath.  She hid herself behind her elegant clothes.  She left to go to the hospital.

.....

 

By midday, a week had passed.  A surgery complete: a success.  She stood surrounded by doctors and surgeons and anaesthetists, all peeling their gloves off. She peeled her gloves off.  Her fingers itched to get free and breathe again.  They traced around her back, to untie her scrubs.  Glancing at the clock, thoughts of chicken caesar salad migrated their way from her brain down to her stomach.  She removed her apron and then her cap, shaking her hair loose, and sighed.

The noise in the canteen wrapped Dana.  It was a place of protection, a place to hide in plain sight.  She gradually trudged forward, one foot in front of the other, snaking around until she was greeted with an array of aromas and delicacies.  She chose her favourite- the salad. 

Across the room, a group of her colleagues waved her over. She hesitated for a second before joining them at their table. She talked. And before she knew it, her break was over.

 

.....

 

Dana stood in the shower, the scorching hot water gushing down her head and back.  She breathed in fits and starts, adamant that the water should cleanse her.  She was still strong and sure.

Strong and sure.

Her neck ached.  Her shoulders and her back ached.  Her arms and legs ached all the way down to her aching feet.

The water concealed the tears falling.   She cried, shoulders shuddering. She pulled herself together.  Strong and sure.

In the locker room, a huddle of women had entered, chatting about the success of the day.  She smiled.  She acted as they knew her to be: stoic, strong and sure.

She dressed in the suit she had arrived in.  Her hands glided down her jacket, watching in the mirror as the suit fitted her form and accented all of her features. 

Dana was sure she was the only one that noticed these days.

It was already dark out. The winter air was stale and biting.  She opened the door and sat in the driver's seat.  The engine started, rumbling as she made her way away from the hospital.

 

.....

 

Her stomach fell into a pit, their home a whisper of death.

She made her way up the steps.  The door creaked open and then shut again behind her.  She sighed.  She took off her coat.

Nothing.

 

.....

 

The void pulled her out of unconsciousness.  She sat up on the edge of their bed.  She stood, the bed creaking under her movements.  She groggily walked away.

In the bathroom, she filled the sink with water, sometimes not.  She scratched her skin with soap and a flannel.  She cleansed her mouth.  She hid herself behind her clothes.  She left to go to the hospital.

 

.....

 

By midday, a week had passed.  A surgery complete.  She stood surrounded by doctors and surgeons and anaesthetists, all peeling their gloves off.  She itched to get free and breathe again.  Glancing at the clock, she removed her apron and then her cap and sighed.

The noise in the canteen wrapped Dana.  It was a place to hide in plain sight.  She gradually trudged forward, one foot in front of the other.  She chose the salad. 

Across the room, her colleague waved her over. She hesitated.

Before she knew it, her break was over.

 

.....

 

She stood in the shower, the scorching hot water gushing down her head and back.  She breathed in fits and starts.

Her neck ached.  Her shoulders and her back ached.  Her arms and legs ached all the way down to her aching feet.

The water concealed the tears falling.   She cried, shoulders shuddering.

In the locker room, a huddle of women had entered, chatting about the day.  She acted as they knew her to be: stoic.

She dressed in the suit she had arrived in.

It was dark out. The winter air was biting.  She opened the door and sat in the driver's seat.  The engine started. She made her way away from the hospital.

 

.....

 

Her stomach fell into a pit, their home a whisper of death.

She made her way up the steps.  The door creaked open and then shut again behind her.

Nothing.