Hello everyone! I recently applied and was accepted to Mississippi University for Women and Stetson's M.F.A. Creative Writing programs. Here is one of the short stories included in my admissions portfolio. It's about a strong woman who can finally let go of her professionalism and allow herself to feel.
The Last Walk
She used to be the resident obstetrician at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital. I had been a new intern when I met her. She was in her 33rd year of residency and had become my mentor. She had seen it all: twins, umbilical cord issues, still births, and any and all types of tearing. She was the best.
Many doctors get attached to their patients. Emotionally invested in recoveries and surgeries. This is what set her above the rest, because she didn’t. Each patient was a new experience to be solved by basic methodical actions. A 3-D puzzle for her to put together. You could see her tunnel vision of the crowning child and the heart rate monitor to her left. To her, a quiet heart rate monitor wasn’t an indicator of life lost, but evidence of her failure.
After an almost tragic labor that left me shaken, she put a hand on my shoulder and said, “If you don’t let your feelings effect the work, the baby is more likely to survive. Levelheadedness. That’s the mark of a successful doctor.” No one had ever seen her cry. Salty tears didn’t belong in the clear precision of her craft.
On her last day I assisted her in the delivery of three babies, and everyone was in perfect health when she left. She was very quiet and reserved like she always was. A focused look in her eyes like she was solving some enigma that I couldn’t see. No tears, no wistful good byes. Simple smiles and firm hand shakes.
I walked her out of the hospital over to the adjoining park. We had often sat on the benches during lunch shifts, and I would listen in awe as she spoke of her most challenging deliveries with calculated explanations. Today our ears were greeted with a shriek. We ran to the sound, finding a woman with a man in the grass. The surrounding crowd screamed for a doctor. I looked quickly to my mentor, eager that I had the chance to see her in action one last time. But she said nothing. For the first time she was simply a witness. An inactive bystander.
A passing nurse proceeded to take control of the situation. The man held her hand tight. The pregnant woman’s face contorted in pain, but etched between the harsh lines was anticipation and longing. The man’s eyes flitted quickly from new mother, to nurse, to crowning child. Fear, excitement, uncertainty: nothing new to me. The nurse hunched over in concentration, as a newborn crowned, passing into her ungloved hands. And then the crucial moment. The cry of the healthy baby. I looked over to my mentor, expecting to see the same impassive gaze I had been accustomed to. But her eyes were hazy. And she fell to her knees. And she wept.