Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Flipping a Coin for Dr. Coyne ( Part 5)

I can barely breathe as I walk across the 158 W 12th Street lobby to meet him.  Only a few simple steps away, and yet it seems as insurmountable as Mount Everest on this particular evening. I'm feeling almost physically ill and I'm thinking, this is supposed to be the greatest night of my life and instead I am mummified into sheer terror.  We greet each other and I'm relieved that he seems to recognize me.  After all, he has only seen me once for a few fleeting moments in the hallway on one of the hospital wards.  And by now, that shocking confrontation by a total stranger was already a few weeks in the past.
After a brief hello, we're out those stately brass doors and into the cold December night.  J.J. and a friend (one of the other Interns or Residents who are escorting my fellow student nurses to the Junior Dance) hail a cab for us and before I have much time to think, we're crowded together into the cab and on our way through the gaily illuminated streets of Manhattan.   I remember feeling some slight level of comfort in the fact that my classmate, Mary Ann Dellafiora (Madi) is in the same cab with me.  I sense that she is a lot calmer and much more in control of herself about this whole experience or at least she seems that way to me.  I, on the other hand, can't find a word to say, and even if I could think of something clever to say, my mouth is so dry it is literally glued shut.   I don't know where to put my eyes, or my limbs so I kind of awkwardly turn away and look out the window, pretending to be amused by the sights and sounds of the city.  I feel like the biggest fool on God's great earth.
I know my vibes were coming through loud and clear since every molecule in my body was in chaotic upheaval.  I am sure J. J. was probably wondering if he'd soon be called upon to resuscitate a victim of a Code 99.  My pure, unadulterated panic lasted for the entire cab ride.  Mercifully it wasn't too long before we're dropped off at the entrance way of the new, impressive New York Hilton. All around us there is an exciting, vibrant feeling of New York City in December as glamorously dressed couples are exiting cabs and entering the hotel.
Now, J.J. is far from stupid.  He has also been around the block a couple of times more than I have and he knows a thing or two.  So, he seizes the situation before him and quickly realizes that this tightly-wound, petrified mummy needs desperately to be loosened up a bit.  We enter the lobby and J.J. assists me as we step onto one of the escalators which is rising upward in the middle of the stately and glamorous hotel.   While the stairway is moving, J.J. turns to me, looks directly into my face and says,”So what's this I hear about you flipping a coin?"  Now, I'm sure you've heard of those tragic accidents where escalators malfunction and basically swallow those unlucky individuals who happen to be on them at the time. Oh how I wished that fate would befall me at that very moment. But alas, it did not. Instead I instantly respond in total horror, "OMG, I can't believe she told you that!"  I was shocked, horrified, stunned and appalled.   What could I say, what could I do, it was the God's honest truth; I had literally flipped a coin in the stairwell outside of St. Joseph's East in hopes of winning this once in a lifetime date with a magical, mystical, untouchable Intern.    Witnessing my reaction to his mischievous question, J.J. broke into hearty, robust laughter.  Amazingly, as we stepped off the moving stairway and he took my arm and escorted me into the Ballroom, my anxiety had disappeared. The ice was broken and my night of Moonlight and Mistletoe had finally begun.............. By the way, in case you are wondering, I did tell him that I had actually lost the coin toss.
So what happened next?  To be continued.....

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