From the Sky - Part IV

When we got to Walnutwood General, the man ran into the emergency room. Seconds later an orderly had me in a wheelchair and was whisking me inside. The boy stayed with me, never taking pressure off my forehead. There was a great deal of confusion at the desk, of course, but it didn't last long because soon Rae and Sal burst through the door. A nurse shooed the boy away and started tending to my head.

"What is your name, child?" she asked. She had a thick accent, Russian perhaps. She was young, and very pretty as best as I can remember.

"Renata," I answered.

"I am Katya. I usually work upstairs, but they told me that today, in the Emergency Room, there is very pretty girl. I decide I must come and see her, this pretty girl, and here you are! You're going to need a lot of stitches, little Renata. You have had stitches before, yes?"

I shook my head, not really paying full attention. I was looking for the boy, but he and his father were gone. I can't say as I blame them.

"Well, they sting a little," she said and that did get my attention. "But it won't hurt nearly as bad as anything else that's happened to you today. You are very brave, you know. What cut you?"

"A honey locust thorn," I said softly. "I fell out of Uncle's tree. I wanted to see the scarlet tanager nest."

I heard angry shouting. Rae and Sal were raising unholy hell at the desk. People were staring. Katya seemed not to notice; I was the center of her attention.

"Well, you're very, very lucky," said Katya. "A little lower and you might have lost your eye. But the cut is just above your eyebrow. It is very deep, but the doctor, he is very, very good. You'll hardly see scar when you are older and have your handsome boyfriends."

"Can you fix my chin?"

"What's wrong with chin?" Katya asked, fixing her eyes there, her voice thick with concern. She reached out and touched my chin gently. Her fingers smelled faintly of soap and cigarettes.

"Well, Aunt Rae says I don't have one. She says one day if a boy tries to kiss me he'll fall right off my face."

She laughed, and then quickly covered her mouth with her hand. After a moment, she leaned forward and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek. Her hair had the scent of fresh peaches.

"You have good chin," she said, "And you're a very, very pretty girl, my little Renata."

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