My Mother, the Nurse

She called out to a patient. Her voice was harsh, like the crack of a whip. In the beginning she wasn’t sure of how to conduct herself. She was terrified. She didn’t know how she should behave, how to react. That fear had faded had cynicism had come to occupy the place it had vacated. It had gripped her and would not let go. She was the nurse that, back in the old days, they had nicknamed PollyAnna. She was a cheerful presence on the ward. She had, at last, found something at which she excelled. But her enthusiasm ebbed away with the years. And now she was flat, drained, jaded.

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