East House

Every weekday starts out the same: getting up early and driving to the hospital, turning in at the green sign, chugging up the hill and the winding hospital road, slowing for the constructed bumps, past the huge, baroque administration building—wanting to turn back every minute, a palpable desire, but proceeding on past the construction site for the new day care building, past ominous-looking Appleton and the Women’s Nurses’ Residence, then into the cinders of the parking lot next to East House, in all its hideous Victorian splendor. I hop out, and instantly there is the sensation of being watched from within.

Often, on the night shift, I am the only male on the ward, and some of the women respond to me in sexual ways that catch me off guard. P made sure to “accidentally” leave her door open when she was taking her bath last night, and she knew very well that I would be making my rounds to check on her and the others in that wing. In the brief glimpse I had of her before I rushed away to notify the head nurse, P looked quite stricken, not because she thought she was going to get in trouble but, I’m sure, because of her disappointment that I didn’t stay to watch.

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