Thursday, January 30, 2014

An Eerie Gift from Jim

Recently  I was reading Sean Buvala's new ebook, Measures of Story: How to Create a Story from Floats and Anecdotes,  about turning anecedotes and snippets into fully realized stories. It has prompted me to think about all the memories I have posted on this blog since I began writing it in 2005. So I am going to begin mining my treasures so to speak -  to remind me of stories I want to tell.

This is a nugget from July 2005.


Jim and I met at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was in his second year in medical school and I was a new nursing student.

Jim was very intense about his studies. Often our dates became "study" sessions. We spent hours in a hospital library. Jim had his nose in his books and often I dozed off over my textbooks.

Jim often helped me tackle difficult assignments. Learning all the bones of the skull offered quite a challenge.

One night when Jim came to pick me up at Hampton House (the nurses residence) he was carrying a round package wrapped in newspaper. He offered it to me. "I think this will help you learn those bones." I took it.

I felt round hardness in my hands. I lifted back on edge of the newspaper wrapping. I stifled a gasp - it was a skull. " I borrowed it for you." Jim explained. He was waiting for my reaction. I swallowed hard. "Thank you."

I took it to my room and left it on my desk while we went to a movie.

When I returned later I unwrapped the skull and stared at it. The sightless eye cavities above the gaping toothy mouth stared back. I set it on my desk and got into the bed with a book. Shortly, I turned out the light. I could still see the skull on the desk because of light from a streetlight outside. I turned away but I could not relax. I knew that skull was looking at me.

Finally I got up, picked up the skull and moved it to the closet. I set it on the floor and closed the door. I turned back toward my bed. Then hesitated, and - all right, all right - I did feel kind of stupid as I turned the key and locked the closet door.

That's where the skull stayed until I returned it to Jim.

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