A Rose in the Midst of Thorns
Often I would gaze at her through mesmerized eyes intently. Her simple grace enthralled me so that I was enamored of all she physically possessed. Whenever she came around, I watched her in the sweetest daze. However, my reaction I had endeavored to conceal when in her presence. I recall the first time I met her. I was hired on as a patient transporter for a hospital called Providence. It was a position which required great patience. Since the job involved coming in contact with various individuals of varied attitudes, a patient transporter had to learn how to adapt. Therefore, it was of the utmost necessity to exercise courtesy and tact.
Patients released from the hospital were frequently placed in the transporter’s trust. It was the job of staff to wheel individuals in a wheelchair outside to a designated area. Here some friend or relative picked them up. Others, who remained in the hospital for further treatment, were transported either by wheelchair or portable bed to another room. The initial area of occupation for patients staying, in many cases were vacated. As it was the policy of the hospital patients, who remained were removed that newcomers might have a place for relief. Upon the door of the newly appointed room, a sign was placed on the door. It indicated the sufferer’s condition.
Though being a patient transporter had its challenges, it was nonetheless an easy job to perform. Most patients were rather pleasant as they were very optimistic in nature. Despite the kindness of a large group however, some patients expressed stubbornness. By refusing to cooperate with hospital staff in assisting them to comfort and better health, these few made the work stressful at times. I transported patients to the hospital lobby, while others to diagnostic. I was in and out of many different rooms ascending and descending the elevator, taking that patient there and this patient here. Finally, my work ended, and tomorrow I was to begin anew. The day quickly slipped by.
I enjoyed my job, and although I was only paid $5.25 an hour, the richness of the experience made up for the lack. I gained a store of knowledge from observing, much more of learning the various ailments that plagued patients. As I clocked out for that Monday, I started for the elevator. When I reached the gray doors, I pressed the button with the down arrow symbol. The doors immediately rolled open. Employees as well as visitors who were either on their way to work or to visit a loved one, walked off. Stepping on to the elevator, I pushed the button for the first floor. As the elevator dropped, I could feel the fast lowering sensation touch deeply my pelvis.
On reaching the bottom floor, the elevator doors again rolled open and I walked off. I strolled across the floors of the hospital lobby. It did not take long for me to reach the automatic glass doors, through which I made my exit. Behind the hospital, I seated myself on the dull brown wooded benches. I sat waiting for my mother to come pick me up. I pensively gazed upon a red sinking sunset. It seemed the sun glided majestically down a silver horizon. In the distance I could see the twilight sky approaching. A blue hue intermingled with pink patches of light across the azure expanse, begin to spread quickly… and then fully… the patches fading as night settled in. After waiting for about thirty-minutes my mother had finally come. I seated myself in the passenger seat and I was off, the day completely ended. Early that next morning I rose from bed, showered, ate breakfast, and began my walk to work. The Ford Escort my mother drove me in twenty-four hours ago was having engine problems. It took me twenty-minutes to reach Providence Hospital. I still had plenty of time before I started work, but admit I felt lethargic after my walk. I entered the hospital, and jumped on the elevator. Ascending to the top floor, I stepped off. At the right was the office for transporters to report for work. As soon as I entered here, I could hear the whispering of malicious words spread through the atmosphere.
My first day at work, I heard many in the office talk about me, but today was unlike yesterday. My co-workers appeared to be having a party and I was the object their fun. You see at the time I discovered that I developed a problem, which affected my life. In attempting to remedy it, I only found myself worsening. The particular blemish had a profound impact on me, so as I would loathe my own existence. Often, I was the object of ridicule by those who could not comprehend my annoying infirmity. Although I searched for a good medical doctor in regards to this affliction, it was not without failure. In making phone calls to many doctor offices, I was questioned frequently by the assisting nurse present. The nature of the problem was the repeated inquiry. I explained my condition, adding hand how the discomfort of the pain bothered me.
Abruptly, the nurse would hang up the phone. In addition, the indifference shown by other doctor assistants because I did not have medical insurance, was another factor in my long hard search for answers and a cure. It came as no surprise that my co-workers made fun of me, and spoke harsh words against me. I had become almost immune to the childish play from others. Yet on this particular day something was about to change, leaving me very hopeful. In the midst of thorns would bloom a rose of significance that captured the reverberations of my deepest sentiments, which tingled at her every move. I remember when she first entered the office. Her eyes were like sunlight penetrating the chilled dewdrops on my heart. I was captivated.
Phyllis Fornah is the name she went by. She came at a time I really needed a friend. Her personality was such that a rich woman would die to obtain. She was exemplary of what a true woman should be. Phyllis was pleasant to have as a companion. My co-workers had hurled petty miserable words at me. Of the females, this was more evident. Daily I would hear the women say, “He is weird” or “He is crazy” in hopes, I would quit my job.
They even delighted in their cruel implied words, speaking indirectly rather than directly about my ailment. I heard every conceivable thought spoken behind my back as I listened concealed in a vacant room. Yet whenever I was present, they would blurt out, “someone is not normal” or express their disgust by talking about the latest facial products. This deeply scarred me.
I find it strange how a woman’s tongue can cut a man’s confidence to the quick. At the same time her words can build his self-esteem, as was the case with Phyllis and me. She never spoke a negative word from her lips. She treated me with the utmost respect and courtesy. The women I worked with had been afraid to even encounter me, lest they receive some contagious disease, or so they imagined. I was talked about, ostracized, and laughed at by them all. Phyllis was different in that she was not scared like the others, whom inflated some false idea that I was a “crazy individual”. She allowed me to touch her.
I have a recollection, of when the both of us were sent on an assignment by our supervisor. Phyllis and I had to transport a patient down to the second floor. Walking to the assigned room__ the two of us carrying oxygen tanks__, Phyllis shoestrings came untied. She asked if I could hold her tank while she tied them, I agreed. Being that I was a very timid person by nature, I accidentally touched her arm. Drawing back quickly, cautious not to offend her, I told her I was sorry. She took my hand however, and told me to touch her. Then she went on about how men act like their afraid to touch a female. I confess I was one of them.
She would play fight with me all of the time, and though she never knew it whenever she was next to me, I melted inside. She someone whom over time I developed a crush for, yet feeling I could never have the privilege of making mine. There was a patient in the hospital who urged me to ask her out on a date, and she hearing the conversation said, “I’m giving him hints. He is not reading between the lines”. I could not even imagine me as her man. I was both desirous and shy. Her regal beauty I wanted to capture in a lover’s bliss. There were many of times I thought of asking her for her phone number. Many days, I dreamed of intimate reasons I should take her hand, and caress her soft skin on non- lackadaisical nights; this black Nefertiti that made my soul rise like the moon in the distant shadows. I could not let my feelings escape however, for fear of rejection.
On the days when Phyllis was absent from work, she would call the hospital and ask for me. This confused my co-workers for they assumed that everyone thought like them. Their arrogance mixed with pride would not let them see the full picture of things. Unable to pass by their narrow- minded views, they were blind even more. It is funny how people create their own box to put an individual in. If some persons could, they would take your very soul if you let them. I guess to keep from looking at themselves in the mirror, they must hurt someone else in order to build a false image. In doing this they feel secure, and deceive themselves into thinking they can avoid the eyes of scrutiny.
As time passed on, I decided to attend College. My first pick was Oakwood University in HuntsvilleAlabama. At the commencement of fall, I put in my two-week notice at my job. I did not want to leave Mobile, but what I desired to major in Oakwood was the only college that had it available. I saw Phyllis for the last time. I of course told her about my soon departure. It was she and I in the office that evening. We were wheeling patients to their areas. We had a long conversation. She put her arm around me, playing in her own special way. At that moment, I wanted to ask her if I could take her out, and after could we keep in touch while I was away at college. Though I tried to convey such a request, I found myself speechless. For two-weeks prior, I endeavored to ask her to dinner, but too nervous I resisted the thought.
Finally, I left for College never asking Phyllis for what I wanted. Later, when I came back to Mobile to visit, I inquired of people I use to work with about Phyllis. I was told she left Providence Hospitalsuddenly, and no one seemed to know why or where she went to. Like an angel she came as quick as she left and disappeared into the changing movements of people. I never saw her again. I wonder though, what it might have been like if Phyllis and I ever did date. I sit and reflect on all the possibilities, all the potential moments between her and me. Unfortunately, I guess it will always remain just what it is, a cherished thought unfulfilled.