The fifth shot (1)
Where am I? I'm in hell with a view. That's right. With a view. From where I live I can see the sea with its tranquil colors and its pacifying texture. My life has been as mysterious as this sea that can feel like your best embracing friend one moment and your worst enemy the next. What do I do? I do the most mystic job in the world. I help women bring their newborn into the world. I help the living feel alive. It seems odd that one day I ended someone's life as much as he ended mine. The difference is that he is six feet under in, I imagine, his own private hell while I still live here waiting everyday for the day of my retribution. What did I do? Well, I'm sure you are here to know this story.
At the time of war, people can be only see in three lights: the victims; the heroes and the angels. And the constant meeting of all three is always the hospital. I was a poor country girl called with a sense of duty to help those misfortune consequences of a war that could be avoided. And in the chaos of war, there are those like me who see the heroes in all their glory, with nothing else but the halo around their cranium. In my case, it was the halo on a doctor. I gazed at him from a distance in the tumult of the wounded and fatalities and felt that I needed to know him and be close to him. His confidence, in spite of the obvious fatigue, glowed on him. And when he smiled, he took my breath away.
As we took uneven breaks from treating the influx of the broken ones, we mismatched being in the same place at the same time. So, whenever I wanted to sneak the chance to find a way to speak to him, he would simply disappear. And whenever my shift was off, I am certain he was always there. Of course, the eternal question was on my mind. Was he spoken for? Would I go through all this effort only to find that there is this other boasting woman claiming him for herself? I just couldn't live with this kind of devastation. I shook off my thoughts. My loyalty was to my country first. Romance can come later. Much later.
But affairs of the heart are not to be dismissed that easily. Day after day, night after night, and I simply couldn't shake him off my mind. I decided to do something about him. At the end of the day, we all have our war to fight. So, I waited after my shift was over, hoping that he would appear. I was lucky when it was one of those rare moments when chance meets with will. Across the hall, his halo shone as he approached from the end of the corridor, and as bodies lay in silent or loud torment around us, I headed in his direction.
I made sure that my headed was looking down with my white nurse's cap leading the way. I stopped every few moments to make sure that he was exactly in my way, and as I heard moans and faint whispers of 'nurse' on my way, I still trotted on knowing that we would end up at some point together. I turned to one of the patients without really listening to what he had say, and I know what the repeated words were, and then I swung to find my head at his chest level. He looked at me and smiled and I felt my spine tingle with sensation. 'What seems to be the problem, nurse?'. I said knowing that it was unrelated to any case. 'The patient is in pain, doctor, and I'm not sure how much morphine to administer to him'. He said 'Let me see.' And as he took a look at the patient's chart, he radiated another smile at me.
It wasn't long after that that we met, smiled and nodded at each other whenever the chance came. But he hardly said a word to me, and I was hoping he would just let out a word of at least 'How's it going, Yvonne?' to which I would reply fondly 'Just fine, Pierre. You?'
It wasn't until that day when they brought this young boy of eighteen years old moaning from a wound in his leg. I started the initial treatment but the boy held on to my hand and said 'Don't leave me. I don't want to die. Don't leave me.' I talked back to him. 'My dear. If you just let go of me, I can treat your wounds.' And it seems the scene was so outspoken that other staff from the hospital, including Pierre, showed up. 'Young man,' he said with authority and it seemed, I think, jealousy 'you need to let go of nurse's Yvonne's hand so she can treat your wounds.'
He knew my name. Oh, what ecstasy! He then proceeded to unlock the grip of the boy from my hand and his hand touched mine. It felt it was a touch with a meaning. I looked at him and our eyes met. He knew and was willing without objections. To say that my heart was aflutter would be an understatement.
We met in places at such time where we could. It was not easy, and every time he talked to me, he told me more about him. He told me about his dreams to enter politics and mix it with his medical profession so he could, as he told me, better the medical care that existed in France. Wow! What a man was he? A rebel, a hero, and ambitious and the more he told me, the more I loved him for it. Not only that but I could see it in her eyes that admired me more and more and felt that I was the one for him. There was nothing in the world that could tear me and Pierre apart. But, apparently, there was.
With a day of celebration since the war had ended, there came our day of celebration and finally announce to the world that we are to be man and wife. The fairy tale of France: the country girl with the elegant high class doctor. My Chevallier was to stand before the whole of France and his family announcing me his bride. And as much as he stood up to them, they stood up to him. It seemed I was not good enough for this family that had some roots in nobility. I was the social climber trying to climb my way out of my modest roots into one of the noblest families in France. But it seemed they were noble enough to let their son choose. And choose he did and won me over. I was to be officially Mrs. Chevallier.