She sat in the ER, waiting for gamma-globulin. Her shift was over. She wore blue scrubs.
It wasn't like she'd imagined, first practicing on a peach or a tomato. Her first time was
in her classmate's arm; he was big and blue-eyed, an airman from Chicago. She had to move
the needle around to find the vein and he got sweaty, then fainted.
Today, she'd drawn an elderly veteran wearing a ponytail, bandana. She'd been at it three
years. Now, needle in, this guy had a seizure. While trying to control him, she let go of
the needle, which fell out of him and poked her. She was sure he was positive.
She had a big yard, fields to roam on. I grew up with fields too and wanted horses, used
to draw them on my sketch pad.
Our roads intersected, though we didn't live close. She lived on Harold Road, which was
her last name, the road named after her descendents, and I lived on Strauperstein, my
She always got the stuff I wanted. She had a swing set and a pool. She even had a fawn in
a cage in the back barn that used to house bulls. I had an older sister. She had a younger
one who died when she was four of a heart condition. I remember the funeral, watching my
She got that horse the year of her sister's funeral. My sister didn't like her. She was my
One day we took her horse out. She put the saddle on and told me to get on it. I'd never
been on a horse before except at the fair as a toddler, for ten cents a ride. I didn't
remember it really, but there was a picture.
I wanted her to like me. I got on and she nudged the horse. His name was Vent. He took off
and I bumped and bumped and he kept on going faster. We were in her grandpa's hay field. I
tried holding on, but didn't know what to hold onto and then fell off, landing on my
shoulder. Vent kept going. He ran and ran.
She went to tell her mother. It took two days to find him. Her mother punished her then
for taking the horse out without permission. She'd never even been on the horse herself.
The next week, her dad sold the horse at somebody's auction.
When my cast came off, I had to make a fist to make my muscles stronger. At her place, she
took me to the back barn where the fawn used to be. She said she had to show me something
and told me to get in the pen. I felt brave. She smiled at me. I looked away and saw a
bull come charging, pumping his legs. I ran and jumped the fence. She laughed about it.
Her lips were dark and her teeth were white.