My phone, on the nightstand table, rang. First I saw the time: 3:00. Then I saw the name: Natasha.
My heart leaped. At that time of night, no matter which way this conversation could go, it could not go in a good direction.
“Hi.” She was crying. “I’m sorry to bother you. I tried phoning Erin and Courtney, Darren, I even phoned Leona.”
“Yeah, yeah. What? What’s the matter?”
“I don’t know what happened. I just woke up on the bathroom floor and my chin was split open.
“I got up from the couch and the next thing I remember I was on the bathroom floor.”
“I would phone an ambulance… I don’t really know what I’m doing. I think I’m in shock.”
“Don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m putting my pants on right now.”
“I’m sorry for waking you up. I didn’t know who else to call.”
“No. No. It’s good. I’d do the same.”
“Oh wait. That’s Darren on the other line. Maybe he can take me.”
“Well… Whatever. I’m up now. Or… Well. Why don’t you call him and then call me back and let me know. Er… Whatever you want.”
“Ok. I will.”
She hung up and then I felt really really dumb. Here she was bleeding at home alone and there I was letting her find another possible ride. Darren lives 50 blocks away. I live 2.
That’s when my phone died because it’s almost always at 1%
And, goddamn! It takes so long to charge up a dead iPhone. It takes a really long time. So I screamed at it. “Come on!!!” I sat in the dark, my jacket and sweater on. I stared at it for several minutes, screaming until it came back to life.
I called Natasha. “Sorry. My phone died of course.” She’s used to that one. “What did Darren say?”
“He said he can’t drive.”
“Ok. I’m coming to get you.”
“I can call a cab.”
“No. I’m coming. You can get a cab back home.” That’s the nice thing to do I’m pretty sure.
I got to her house in 20 seconds. I waited for her to come down and looked at instagram. “Come on!” I said. I texted her, “I’m waiting outside.” Why was I in such a rush? Hey asshole, maybe she’s having trouble putting on her jacket while her face is gushing blood.
When she got in the car I asked, “So what happened?”
“I don’t know. I’m probably dehydrated and… I haven’t been taking care of myself. Not eating right. I’ve not been taking care of myself the last couple months. You know. You’re dealing with being sad and…”
“Yeah. I know.” I drove to the Royal Alec. “Where’s emergency? There’s a sign that says emergency but I don’t see a door.”
“I don’t know” she said holding rags to her chin.
“Well fuck! Shouldn’t this be a little more clear?!”
I drove around here and there, went into the parkade. “Should I park here and we can just walk around?”
“No,” she said.
I pulled out and saw some policemen talking to some nurses. “Should I ask them?”
“Sure.” She said.
“Or is that it?” I asked pointing.
“Just ask them.” She said.
I got out of the car and said, “Excuse me. How do we get into emergency?”
“Driving or walking?”
“Driving, I guess.”
“Just go around and up the ramp.”
So I went to where we first saw the sign saying “Emergency” and drove up to the dock where all the ambulances were parked. The automatic door opened. “Should I go in there?”
“I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
“Yeah. Okay. I won’t.”
“Do you want me to come in with you?” I asked.
“No. It’s fine. Thanks for driving me.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’ll be fine.”
“Okay.” And then I drove home without Natasha and wondered if she even went in the right place. Was the Royal Alec even for things like that? It’s not a geriatric hospital, is it?