Just a little conversation between two people who I keep hearing in my head.
She had hands full of coffee and files and lunchbag, plus her purse was slipping off her shoulder. She feared for the coffee, especially--Monday morning would be very bad, indeed, with no coffee.
Grace managed to slip in the back door of the office with coffee still upright; she walked down the hall to the little breakroom where she could stash her stuff and hang her jacket up; and take a minute to sip the cooling caffeine.
Then Ginny walked in.
"Girlfriend! Get your ass out here! Fast! You gotta see this!" Ginny, as usual, was dressed impeccably. She was a tiny, thin 50-something, who, at first glance, seemed the kind of person who might work out every day, eat health food, belong to Junior League and shop at Talbot's.
Looks lie. Ginny was a cigarette-smoking, junk-food addicted, motorcycle-riding, discount-store shopping maniac.
"What? Not the big Amish family with pink eye again!" One day last week, a family of 15 had tied up the waiting room and every exam room for hour. The little kids had hidden Grace's stethoscope and threw Q-tips everywhere.
"No! No. BETTER. He's the cutest thing ever!" Ginny grabbed Grace's wrist and drug her towards the glass-windowed reception area.
"A puppy? Did somebody bring their dog? Is it Mr. Tilton?" Grace's old neighbor, who got his blood sugar tested regularly, had a rescue greyhound that came in with him.
"NO. Oh, Gracie! This may be the guy for you," Ginny whispered, as they got closer to the front office.
"Ah, not again, Ginny! You are NOT fixing me up with a patient. I'm not interested. I'm. Just. Not. And you know it." Grace had made no secret about her disinterest in men since (as they called it in the office) The Blake Incident.
"Gracie, this is the best-looking man we've ever treated. Well, except he's looking a little green right now. And we think he might throw up in the waiting room. But he's so--his hair--his skin, even a little green-- He's not from Grabill, that's for sure, we think might be Italian -- Gracie, just look." Ginny turned her around and finally shut up.
Grace looked through the glass, into the square, chair-ringed space, with its kid's books and toys in one corner, the rack with magazines in another, the big ottoman in the middle, the window to the parking lot right across from her.
He sat below the window, very still, hands on thighs. He must be very tall, Grace thought; the chair looked too small for him--his legs, in faded jeans, stretched out towards the ottoman. He had curly black hair, big, loose curls that hadn't seen a brush anytime today. His skin--greenness aside--was a gorgeous mocha color, somewhere between golden and brown, a contrast to the white golf shirt that may have been slept in. He might have been asleep. Or about to throw up.
And Ginny was right. He was one handsome man.