Julie A. Dickson

Healing Repeats Itself

I arrive at sunrise to find the asphalt stretching out, dotted with steel beasts. There are no open spaces here. This the parking lot of the ER, where some of our staff are finishing their shifts, and others are about to begin.

There is no difference between day and night here. The staff works round the clock to stem the never-ending barrage of suffering and pain that comes through our doors.

No Shoes, No Service

The sign on the door of the hospital gift shop boldly dictates who will be admitted: “No Shoes, No Service,” it says.

“But I’m wearing shoes.” The man’s voice screeches obstinately, the soles of his cutaway tennis shoes flap, and his bare feet slap hard on the linoleum floor as he fumbles the get-well card he’s holding and it goes flying.

I, an underpaid clerk, sigh in disgust. I haven’t encountered a customer like this in some time. His hair is slicked back, his shirt is untucked, his face is partly hidden behind a blue surgical mask.

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