It’s been a rough start to the year. Jeremy and I broke up in spectacular fashion. James and I started *something*. My dad died. I graduated school. It’s been A. LOT.

So when I saw an ad in the back of a trade journal looking for *’residents’ * at a large teaching hospital a few hours away, I jumped at the chance to apply. Whether it’s due to a miracle or only my low-self esteem talking, I was accepted as 1 of 10 in the inaugural class of respiratory therapy “interns” with a start date very soon after graduation.

I took my licensing exams exactly 3 days after graduation and exactly 10 days after graduating, I worked my first overnight shift as a CRT with me being the only RT on site for the Saturday night shift. Lord help us all.

That Saturday night turned out to be amazing. Nothing bad happened,. No emergent ER needs, My favorite hospitalist was there. I hadn’t told him that I was moving so as we walked out together post shift, this was my chance.

“Why is your car packed up like a homeless person lives there?” Chris joked.

“ummmm, well, I’m moving. Last night was my last shift. I’m driving this morning to my new place, and I start a new job tomorrow at 8am”

“Like in less than 24 hours? Are you insane?” Chris asked.

“Quite possibly. I don’t necessarily want to go, but I need to go. This year has been brutal–you know with my break up, then my dad dying and all that drama, then the other break-up. You have been the only one keeping me sane these last few months. Imagine if I took a local job and ended up working with my ex and his new wife every day. I’m not that much of a masochist. “

“I was kinda hoping you’d work here”

“Well, me too, but they didn’t have a full-time position, and now that I’m not in school, I need to work regular hours– and you know, have a life. Go out. Do things. Maybe even date again. The last two were disastrous, but I don’t have to tell you. You had a front row to that nightmare”

“Maybe you are just looking in the wrong places.”

“Honestly, I wasn’t looking for either of them when they came along. James just happened to be there when the shit hit the wall, and besides, I’ve never done anything like that before, and probably never will again. Dating people you work with is a terrible idea even if it seems like a good idea at the time”

“I guess it’s a good thing that we don’t work together anymore, then” Chris says as he reaches over and gives me the tightest hug I’ve ever received. It seems to last for an eternity, and when he lets go, I feel overwhelmed with emotions. I tell myself ‘do not cry. do not cry”

Chris seems reluctant to let go, but does anyway. I think I see tears at the corner of his eyes. “Drive safe. You are going to be an awesome respiratory therapist. I hope our paths cross again.”

I got in my car and pulled away. As I pulled on the interstate, the tears came fast and furious. Thank god for light Sunday AM traffic.

The last thing I saw in my rearview mirror was Chris wiping tears from his eyes.

Semisonic: Closing Time

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