“I stare at accidents in a… sick… attempt… to feel at all.”
I turned my head around from my seat at the small cafe to see who had spoken. She wore black. Black military style boots studded with silver piercings along the tip, tight dark jeans swaddled with belts, looping all the way up around to her waist and a tattered short sleeved t-shirt bearing the image of a skull; her hair fringed across her face to reveal only purple lips, an upturned nose with a single stud on the left nostril and a single gloomy, grey eye under black mascara. She stared at me.
“The doctor gave me some pills that are supposed to help…with the feelings and all but…” Her eyes never left me as she spoke, staring blankly and for a moment I thought she wasn’t even looking at me. Then she winked.
“I’ll call you back.” she said into the phone and ended the call. She stood up, still looking towards me and I swiveled back in my chair and hoped she would walk past. She didn’t.
“You got something you want to say to me?” She asked, standing beside my chair. I felt my lips twitch into a smile as I looked up at her; she was pretty.
“I drive an ambulance.” I said simply.
Patrons within the establishment were looking towards us with furrowed brow – the goth girl and the paramedic. She ignored them completely as she pulled a chair from the table beside us and brought it next to my chair.
“So what about your ambulance?”
“I could,” I cleared my throat “I could take you with me to accident scenes.”
“Do you always eavesdrop on peoples’ conversations?”
“I was curious when I heard…but rather than pry I would rather…indulge you, I guess.”
“Are you allowed to just pick some random stranger up and drive them around to accident scenes?” I shrugged. She stared blankly back at me.
“What do you gain from it?”
“I get to sit next to a pretty girl?”
“Is that a question?”
“Yes. Would you come with me so that I can sit next to a pretty girl?”
“Is there an accident now?”
“So how can you be sure that there will be one?”
“I don’t…I’m on standby. We can…keep each other company until then.”
“What does that mean exactly?”
“Well we just chat…like we are doing now.” I was feeling tense now, on edge, as though I was guilty of a some crime I hadn’t committed and being questioned on motives I didn’t have. What had I put my self into?
“So we just sit in your ambulance, drive around until you get called?”
“Why would I do that?” I sighed.
“Listen I just…”
“I know.” Her lip edged to the side into a half smile, “I like watching you squirm.” I smiled but the action felt forced…apprehensive
“Ok I accept. I think this will be fun. Let’s go.” We stood up and walked out the cafe. I was aware of their eyes watching us go by, a familiar sensation I’d once felt and she seemed oblivious to them.
“If you stick with me long enough…” she said, “you’ll get used to the stares.” I shrugged as I opened the door for her
“I’ve always been under those stares…Why do you think I became a paramedic?” She turned around to look at me, her face for the first time showing some deeper emotion.
“What do you mean?”
“I used to crash the funerals of people that I never knew. Being a paramedic made that easier.”
She smiled genuinely,
“I guess that would also make me turn my head.”
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