“Hey. Are do you want to go to El Jalisco again for lunch?” Kate asks. We are supposed to be studying gas laws, capillary action, density and other science-y stuff when Kate asks me this seeming innocuous question.

“You remember what happened last time?’ I responded without it trying to seems like I’m a party pooper.

Kate’s eyes glinted “yeah.” And I knew she wanted the same thing to happen again.

Last week, Kate, two other classmates, and I went to the local Mexican restaurant for our lunch break between out 3.5 hour class and out 3.5 hour afternoon lab. It’s like this every Tuesday. A full 8.5 hour day starting at 8:30am. And then I stupidly go in to the hospital from 5-11 every other Tuesday. So for me it ends up being about a 15 hour day.

“I have to work at the hospital this evening.”

“You’re just going to see your boyfriend.” She says that word-boyfriend- like a 5 year old would say.

“He’s not my boyfriend.” I snap back, perhaps a little too loud as our instructor looks up at us.

“Not yet, but you want him to be”

OK. I’ll admit it. At to myself. I was attracted to Chris from the moment he crashed into me. I even arranged my schedule to be every other Tuesday because he works every other Tuesday. But the truth is, I know nothing about him. Not really. He’s nice and he’s a hospitalist. That’s all I got.

Kate wants me to go to the Mexican restaurant because I speak Spanish. And last week, we got a free pitcher of margaritas. And the waiter was flirting with me.

Kate has been married something close to 20 years and she has a teenage son. Her mission is to get me “hooked-up” before we graduate. I don’t think it matters to her who since the top two candidates are Andres, our cute waiter from last week, and Chris-who she’s never met.

We go to the Mexican restaurant again. I order lunch fajitas again, and again, I get the large size. At least I’ll have lunch tonight, I think.

” I think I might be an alcoholic.” Kat blurts out.

“Well, alcoholism, is a self-diagnosed disease so if you think you are, maybe you are.”

Our order arrives along with a free pitcher of margaritas–just like last time. Andres is once again the culprit. We talk about gas laws, propofol, and other school things. Kate drops another bombshell on me.

“My husband is an asshole. He told me he thinks you are cute.” I had gone over to Kate’s house to study. We were supposed to be alone, when her husband and son interrupted our study session by barging into the kitchen. “What’s really concerning is Bryan also thinks you’re hot.” Bryan is her 16 year-old son.

I began to think that Kate might really be suffering from alcoholism, because these are not confessions one makes sober.

And later that day…

Later….at the hospital, Chris stops by the office. Lloyd is somewhere in the building being the social butterfly that he is, and I’m studying and manning the phones.

“So what did you learn in class today,” Chris asks.

“Gas laws and alcohol… as in alcoholism. I think my friend Kate drinks too much–Oh and her 40 something year old husband and teenage son think I’m hot.”

“We’ll I’ll split the difference and say this 30-something year old agrees with them.”

I AM SPEECHLESS. FLOORED.

The phone rings. They need me for a nebulizer treatment in the ER.

I laugh. Or I thinK I laugh. “Saved by the bell. Duty calls. I’m needed in the ER.”

When’s your next shift?” Chris asks.

“Thursday,” I reply.

“Great, I’ll see you then”. Chris and I head in opposite directions, and I ponder the events of today.

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