Not long (enough) after she falls asleep, the buzzing of Rosa’s phone wakes her. She mumbles a hello and hears Franny respond.
“I’m so sorry, did I wake you?”
“It’s all right, Franny, I have to get up now anyway,” Rosa lies.
“I won’t keep you long. Leo and I want to organize a little gathering to celebrate the completion of Kassandra and River’s mural. We’d love for you to be able to come, and since your schedule is the most complicated, well…”
“That’s so kind. Please plan what works for everyone. I will be there if I am not called in for a shift. I cannot predict them, not completely, you know.” Rosa does not like the sensations in her stomach caused by these small lies to her new friend. The voice of her fear, however, will not allow her to promise to show up at a gathering.
“Fair enough. Rosa,” Franny starts, pauses. Rosa can hear her take a deep breath. “If there’s anything wrong, or something you need, you know you can rely on us, right? On me.”
“Yes, of course. I’m fine, dear Franny. Really. This on-call nursing, it’s simply unpredictable.” She offers a laugh. “One day I’ll get on a regular rotation. I’m sure of it. Then we’ll make all kinds of plans.”
Franny laughs in response. “That sounds good. Okay, I’ll give you a call when we set a date for the celebration. I hope you’ll be able to join us.”
“I will try. Goodbye, Franny.”
“We love you, Rosa. Goodbye.” Franny clicks off.
Love? What does that mean? The fear makes a knot in Rosa’s gut. They do not love you, it says. You’ve fooled them into liking the person they think you are. Once they know the real you, well, you know what will happen.
It is, now, time to shower and get to the hospital for her shift. Rosa waits until the water is as hot as she can stand it, and steps in.