He made her melancholy, sad, and heavy;
And so she died: had she been light, like you,
Of such a merry, nimble, stirring spirit,
She might ha' been a grandam ere she died:
And so may you; for a light heart lives long.
As insane as it sounded, the snow spoke to her now. In this instant. At this point in time. Here. Let me cover everything up, let me blanket you in a fierce avalanche of white ice. Let me take your troubles away and make you think of nothing more than the whiteness, the cold icy security of my snow. But, Kerry Weaver had little time to think about such momentary lapses of sanity. For the first time in some twenty years, she was late for an appointment. And not just fashionably late: forty five minutes past two.
She made no excuses as she tapped off the snow from her boots and entered the University admissions office on Polk Street. It took a moment to get her bearings, but she could easily tell that the office she wanted was straight down the hall and to the left. And as she walked, briskly but not too fast, she began the process of removing the layers of warmth that had kept her from freezing to death on the trip over here. First the gloves, then the wool hat, followed by the heavy leather coat. When she reached the office of Dr. Maralyn Harcourt, dean of the University of Illinois School of Medicine, Kerry Weaver realised she had left her satchel of papers--everything, including her resume--at the admit desk back at County General.
At first, Kerry thought about just skipping out on her appointment altogether. She was already nearly an hour tardy, she had none of her important documents, and she felt like going home, making some hot chocolate and going to bed. But, she knew Dr. Harcourt from her days as a resident at Mount Sinai and she had promised Maralyn she would come by before Thanksgiving to discuss something. Kerry wasnt sure exactly what the something was, but she presumed it had plenty to do with accepting a position on the teaching staff. Well, at least Harcourt had suggested as much when they chatted over coffee after bumping into each other at the cafeteria at County.
Kerry remembered Maralyn from those early days primarily as a hard worker. She was the only other resident Kerry had trusted, and they spent countless hours competing for patients, procedures, anything that would put themselves ahead of the other. It was only by freak chance that Kerry ran into Harcourt in the cafeteria at County. Maralyn explained to her that after working as Chief of Staff at a small New England hospital, she had received an offer to come to Chicago. She had only been Dean for three months, since the beginning of the fall term.
I have an appointment with Dr. Harcourt. Im late.
A young man who surprisingly reminded Kerry of John Carter looked up. Your name?
Dr. Kerry Weaver, Chief of Emergency Medicine at County General.
Ah yes, Dr. Weaver. Shes been expecting you. One moment.
Kerry fiddled with her bracelet as she looked around the outer office. She glanced outside and saw that it had ceased snowing. Good. Now if it would just warm up a few degrees, and if the sun would--
Dr. Maralyn Harcourt. Long red hair. A couple of inches taller than Kerry. Thick black glasses.
Maralyn. . . we had a multi trauma come in. I looked up and it was already two. Im sorry Im late.
Not a problem. Please, come in.
Kerry shuffled into Maralyns office. The lack of decoration startled her. All those years ago, when Kerry and Maralyn were residents together, Maralyn always seemed to possess a flare of excess. Here, none existed. The walls shined of freshly coated white paint. Harcourts diploma graced the wall alone, looking for company. A little desk with two folding chairs and that was it. Maybe she wasnt settled in yet. That must be it. Maybe she had just moved in here.
Lets get right to the point, shall we. Harcourt sat and motioned
for Kerry to do the same.
And lets get one thing out in the open. Im not here to ask you to come teach for us. Thats not my intention.
Oh. But, Maralyn...
Let me finish. Although your experience in emergency medicine, coupled with the fact that you are the best damned doctor Ive known, makes you the perfect candidate for the job, I have to tell you that is not what I wanted to talk with you about.
Kerry, can I speak candidly?
Of course, Maralyn.
Ive been following the controversy over at County.
You read the article.
Indeed. And frankly, Im disgusted. As any liberal minded woman in my position should be. Kerry, Ive asked you over here under the guise of interviewing you, but I have to confess: I have another motive.
A million thoughts raced through Kerrys head, but she couldnt figure it out. She looked into Maralyns eyes and tried with all her power to decipher what she was saying, and failed.
Im proposing this. . . a candle lit dinner, white wine, a fire and the company of an old friend.
Maralyn, are you asking me out?
Yes, Doctor. Thats exactly what Im doing.
To be continued ...