The Redheads of Mmm...Doctor!

Title: Perfect Stranger
Author: Elizabeth

I wake up to a prodding on my shoulder. “Stop it Alex.”

“It's not Alex. It's Jill. I was just thinking you should be up there when she gets into recovery. I think she'll flip if she doesn't see you there.”

I nod, get up and pick up Kris. “I want her to come too.” We wake her with difficulty and bring her in to be scrubbed and covered. The poor kid will never want to wash her hands again after this. I put my own pair of scrubs on as well and we make our way up to recovery. They are wheeling Alex out just as we get there. Elizabeth comes over to me. She assisted in the operation. “Susan, it went really well. Alex is responding to the marrow already. Another month or so of Chemo and we might just be home free.”

I smile and Elizabeth squeezes my arm. Kris and I walk in to see Alex. She is still asleep and Kris gets worried, “Susan she didn't wake up yet!”

“Shhh it's okay. The drugs just didn't wear off.” The nurse sees us come in and rushes over. “Susan Louis?” I nod, “I'm Diane, Alex's recovery nurse. She was awake a few minutes ago so we know she's fine. You can go over and talk to her if you'd like.”


I pick up Kris and walk over to Alex. She is, in fact sleeping and very soundly at that. I want to get right in bed with her so we can just forget this whole thing. We can't of course, but it would be a nice thought. After a few minutes her eyes opened again and she focused on Kris and me. She smiled, “I knew you'd be here.”

“Did you?”

“Yes. I woke up earlier and you weren't here so I knew the next time I woke up you would be.”

“Aunt Alex?”

“Yes sweetie?”

“Are you better now?”

“Not yet. But I'm going to be…I just know it.” She smiles at me and I smile back, but it must be a worried one because she reaches over and takes my hand. “Don't you worry, Honey. You haven't lost me yet.” But I do worry. I worry as the nurse comes back to inform us she can go back to her room and I worry while we sit there talking later. Bill has taken Andy home with him for the night so I know going there will not be an option for me. After everyone leaves and Alex goes to sleep I just sit there watching her for awhile. I watch until I hear a knock at the door and I look up. It's Kerry. She comes down and sits next to me. “Have you eaten today?”

I try to remember. I guess if you can't remember if you've eaten it means you haven't. I shake my head and Kerry says “Okay. Lets go.” She gets me up and leads me out the door. I don't fight it but I do go back to kiss Alex goodbye. Kerry leads me into the parking garage and into her car. I sit for a minute without saying anything and then look at her. “So where are we going?”

“My place. Well first your place for some clothes and then my place. You'll have some supper and then go to sleep.” I don't even bother to argue. It sounds good to me. I hadn't been eating much anyway. We get to Kerry's house after stopping at mine and she makes what turns out to be very good pizza. I'm surprised because Kerry usually cooks extravagant dishes whose names I can't pronounce. For her to make something as simple as pizza is unheard of to me. She sees my look of surprise and says, “Well you can't expect me to spend hours in the kitchen everyday now can you?”

We eat in silence for a minute and then Kerry breaks it by saying, “So I guess you heard I lost the baby.”

I almost choke. Beyond the fact that I hadn't heard that, she said it like it was something she heard on the news. “Kerry I'm so sorry. When did this happen?”

“Those two days you weren't at work. I'm really okay though. I mean…I guess I'm just too old to have a child of my own. I'm going to look into adoption. Kim's going to help.”


“Yeah, well we talked, actually the day before I had the miscarriage. But that's not important. I told her right out that I loved her and still do. Right to her face like you said. She told me she came back to Chicago in hopes of hearing me say that again.”

“So are you two…”

“Not yet. We're friends right now…friends who go to supper whenever we get the chance. I haven't even kissed her yet. But we'll see right?”

I can't believe I'm having this conversation with Kerry Weaver in her kitchen eating pizza and drinking coke. While her dog eats sloppy dog food in the corner. This is not the Kerry Weaver I knew when I left County all those years ago. Was it six now or seven? I could never remember. Susie's going to be seven soon so I guess that would make it six. Kerry seemed to sense my lag in conversation and changed the subject. “Alex's operation was successful.”

She wasn't asking. It was almost like she was telling me, as if she was the one who performed the surgery. I nodded. “Yeah. With any luck I'll be taking her home in another week or so.”

“Yeah. Susan I was thinking. You have two weeks of vacation coming. Why don't you take them…not this week but the next two after that? It's almost Christmas so we might be able to give you that week too. That would make it three weeks and you could just take care of Alex and relax. And get some sleep and eat something.”

I forgot it was almost Christmas. This was the last week of November. The snow hadn't even given me a clue. I had no sense of what time of month it was anymore. I'd have to get a tree and presents soon. Maybe Susie could visit for Christmas too. These are things I'm usually thinking about right after Halloween, but this year they lay forgotten. I look at Kerry and realize she is still waiting for her answer. “That would be nice Kerry. Thanks.”

“I know what it's like to lose someone you love, or have them sick. If you ever need anything you know where to find me. I'll help you in any way I can.”

I smile and feel more tears coming down my face. Will they ever stop? “Thank you Kerry.”

We finish our pizza and Kerry shows me to the guest room. I get into bed thinking of the time I'll have off, right through Christmas. A plan is formulating in my head, but I'll need help to pull it off. I know I can get that help from a certain seven year old. I'll have to make some flight reservations too. With any luck I'll be able to work most of it out before Alex gets home.

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