I sit stuck against the wall as usual. My body is physically tired from the double I just worked, but my mind never stops. It never sleeps.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
“Ahri! I know you can hear me. Can you open the door please?”
It is Mark. I knew it would be. He is the only person that ever comes to this door. I don’t want to leave him hanging outside. He always comes out of his way to check on me.
“Ahri! I just want to know you’re all right.”
I feel the tears burning in my eyes. I want to be better. I want to be a better partner for Mark, but I can’t. As a medic, it is normal to lose sleep when you lose a patient or arrive to a scene too late. But these aren’t my problems. Mark is such a great guy. He deserves a normal partner.
It is quiet now. I wonder if he has given up. He should.
My phone’s ambulance siren begins to sound, and I know it is Mark. He hasn’t given up yet. I don’t silence the ringer. I don’t answer. I can’t. The sound of the siren tenses me, and I erect against the wall involuntarily. My mouth extends above my throat, and I take deep breaths into the air above me. Beep-beep. He left a voice mail. Poor guy. He wants to save me. He wants to fix me. I am too far gone.
Ardalia (Ahri or Daily) is your hardworking paramedic with not-so-typical paramedic problems. Although she spends most of her time saving lives, hers is the one that needs to be saved.
–R. H. Kraemer
Genre Literary Fiction