Necessary history: I’ve been running a bit too strongly for a while now and managed to push myself a bit too far today. Yes, I am well aware of just where my outer limits lie. No, I never stop before I reach them, working under the auspices of “I got this far before, surely I’ve since acquired the strength to go that much further.” By this theory, I shall one day be invincible. :)
Unfortunately, I gave out in the presence of witnesses (namely, a handful of coworkers) and being unable to soothe them with assurances that I fully understood what had happened as well as why it had, I eventually allowed myself to be driven to the nearest emergency department for a quick go-over. (Yes, it’s all right to laugh at the word quick. I am being sarcastic).
I was more than a tad annoyed at first, but eventually (that is to say after they had done all their necessary questioning and sampling and had me alligator clipped to an EKG) I began to see this as a much needed chance to get a little extra sleep.
I was awoken some time later by the strings of Mozart’s A Little Night Music, admittedly not one of my favorite pieces, but fair warning that I was no longer alone in my little ER cubby.
“I knew that would wake you up,” Mai crowed proudly, making me want to hate her.
“Turn it off,” I complained, “Why’d you bring that one?”
“It was on top,” she shrugged, hitting stop and then open before beginning to dig through a stack of jewel cases, “Which would you prefer?”
There are few people in this world that understand how much my music means to me, how much I need it; and only one audacious enough to sweet talk her way past the apartment-keep to gather it (even when she knows the penalty for rifling through my most personal of belongings).
I won’t even tell you how she managed to get in to the emergency department with a CD player and me not even awake enough to tell the nurse I know her.
“How did you know I was here?” I asked when I had finally woken up enough to think.
“Simon called me.”
Yes. I found this strange, seeing as how my last words to him (as he was saying he was going to go call AnhMai) were, “Don’t you fucking dare.” (I am not the best sick person).
“Which one?” she asked again, fanning the cases in front of my nose so that I could read the titles without having to reach for my glasses. I keep my music much like I keep everything else: numbered.
I have stack upon stack of burned CDs each titled Mix Music followed by a number. It doesn’t bother me because I know what is on each of the CDs and I find numbers much easier to organize than, say, overly creative alliterations.
“Eight,” I told her, leaning back again and closing my eyes as she fiddled some more with the waiting player.
Honestly, my tastes in music are … eclectic. Eight happens to be my current favorite because it contains a variety of piano pieces (my favorite instrument) interspersed with seemingly random pop (Walking in Memphis), golden oldies (Bei Mir Bist du Schon), techno beat hits and cartoon openings (Gummi Bears and Inspector Gadget). Try as hard as she can and Mai has yet to figure out how I decide what goes with what. :)
“Random,” she announced today.
“Random?” I questioned.
“It’s entirely random, isn’t it? The way you choose the songs?”
“Nope,” I laughed, “Keep trying.” I know she’ll never actually give up.
“I guess I’m just not cerebral enough,” she complained after having listened to the next few selections, making me laugh even more. Mai has never and, I would be willing to gamble, will never consider herself beneath anyone. Naturally, I believe sarcasm to be one of the funniest of humors. But at least her announcement signaled her withdrawal from the battle for today and thus my increased chance of getting back to my nap.
“Why didn’t you want him to call me?” she interjected suddenly, destroying my hope. Somehow I knew she was hurt.
I shrugged, making a note to ring Simon’s neck for calling AnhMai and then again for telling her I’d told him not to. To be honest, I just hadn’t seen the point in calling. I knew what the problem was. I knew what they would have to do to “fix” it. Part of me didn’t want her hanging over me like she currently was but mostly I didn’t think it worth bothering her on her day off.
“You never let me help you,” she muttered, making me scoff.
“When have I ever needed your help?”
She frowned. “That time. With the blood.” I did my best to remember what it was that she was referring to but I couldn’t remember ever bleeding around her. “That time,” she insisted again, “In the park. With the squirrel.”
It finally began to dawn on me, “This time?” I asked, unintentionally flipping her off (that is to say, displaying the scars running along either side of my middle finger). She nodded.
“That wasn’t you,” I told her, “I hadn’t met you.” (Okay, so it was an idiotic thing to say. But I balk at any request to change history as I have seen that it be written).
“Ye~ah,” she answered perversely; though I was unsure as to which statement she was agreeing. I tried to recall that day. And I do remember that there was a person, though I cannot associate them with AnhMai in my head.
Thinking back though, I can’t imagine that there are two people, even in a city the size of Houston, who would barge in on you while you were in a bathroom, even after you had called for them to hang on a second; that you would be out shortly. I vaguely recall the person, mostly because of the pushy way they had pulled my hand away from the sink, folding a small triangle of skin back into place as they told me that it really needed to be stitched; that they had a suture kit in the car and would I wait there.
I don’t remember my response, but I’m sure it wasn’t especially pleasant. In the end I had bound the finger fairly tightly with folded paper towels and secured my makeshift bandage with a couple of Band-Aids I had in my purse and made my exit.
“You don’t remember,” Mai stated matter-of-factly some time later, accepting, I suppose, my confusion. “Do you remember lunch?” she then asked.
“When?” I mean, honestly people, I remember lots of lunches.
“At TIER. Do you remember?”
She let out a gusty sigh. “No you twat, with my evil twin sister. Yes with me!”
“You ate at TIER?” FYI: TIER was a rehabilitation facility that until fairly recently was one of the few places to get a warm, cheep lunch in the TMC. It was right down the street from where I went to school and so I ate lunch there fairly frequently. Occasionally (usually when it rained) the place would get pretty busy and someone who was also dining alone might ask to share my table. It did not happen very often and I don’t think I ever gave one of them more than a cursory glance as I motioned my agreement.
“I used to,” she muttered, “I can’t believe you.”
But the funny part, and yes by the time I realized how all this interlocked I was barely able to draw a breath between laughs, was that I had always considered AnhMai to be the nut because my first day at where we work, I was being shown about by my supervisor (of sorts) and spotting AnhMai down the hall, he called to her and made to introduce us.
AnhMai, being, well, Mai, said something to the effect of, “A pharmacist? I thought you were smarter than that.”
And after having watched her leave, A--- turned to me and asked if I knew her, to which I replied (in what I then believed to be all honesty), “No, I’ve never seen her before in my life,” something that did not to take long to get back to AnhMai, so that as I was in the middle of my first lunch of my first day in a totally new place of employment, this (as I then believed) nut sashays up to the table I was sitting at and, slapping the table with both hands, asks, “What do you mean you don’t know me?”
I remember being decidedly unnerved and just staring at her until she finally sat down with a rather gusty sigh. She didn’t say anything else to me that day, not even when I got up to go back up to work, and it wasn’t until some months later that I realized that she had somehow managed to slip into my confidence.
And honestly, I’m still not sure on that account.
But there you go, my strange but apparently all too true story. And the moral, you may ask. Simple, I tell you. Look at the people who flit in and out of your life. Someday it may save you a good deal of utter bewilderment. Not to mention the countless hours spent trying to figure out just what that stalker-ish chick at work wants.