Just then another nurse came out shouting;
“Shut up. You better keep it down. If you cannot take it then why did you come here? I mean what were you expecting? Flowery prairies and ice cream vans everywhere? This is a war zone. Better get a grip!”
“Wow that was too harsh, Nurse Hanna”, the nurse who had accompanied Marie retorted in her defense.
Nurse Hanna did not hear that. Rather she stood enraged, starring at Marie, waiting for her to brandish the red cape so she could charge at her with the force of a Spanish bull. Working in a worn-torn part of the world seemed to have taken a toll on these health professionals. They all seemed to be fractious. With a round-the-clock demand for their services, many of them could barely afford more than 4 hours of sleep before they were back at the ward tending to severely wounded soldiers. Theirs was the kind of job that had the effect of keenly humbling an individual but at the same time stressing them out till they were at their wit’s end.
Worn-out from long hours of torture, famished and drugged, the young bull had turned into a mad and ferocious beast. A phone rang in the office distracting her from her target. She quickly ran inside to attend to the call.
With Nurse Hanna gone, Marie was left alone on the bench with the comforting nurse. She placed her arm around Marie. Marie’s tears had dried up but when she looked down at her sweaty shirt, it was stained with gooey mud. Without thinking, she rubbed her shirt over her face to wipe away the sweat.
“Listen, you cannot stay here. There is a hotel about 15 minutes from here. It’s nothing fancy but it is safe and enough for you to get a good night’s rest. What do you say?” the nurse said.
“Miss, miss. You know, I don’t even know your name”.
Sniffing she replied “My name is Marie, Marie Fosuwaa Hansful”
“Hansful! You Ghanaian by any chance?”
Surprised at the question, Marie sat up. “Yes, my parents are but I was born and raised in the United States. How did you guess?”
“It is your name. I think I might know your father. Is he a medical doctor?”
“Yes, but…” She paused to think.
“Hmmmm wait give me a second”.
She went inside the ward and in a few minutes returned with a photo. Before the nurse could say a word, Marie snatched the photo from her hand and observed it closely. It was a group photo with smiling people in white overalls. Scrutinizing each face from left to right, Marie was not even blinking. And then, she saw him. It was her father, standing behind a bearded gentleman.
“Where did you get this?” she asked
“Is this your father?” the nurse replied excitedly.
“Ermm, yes. But where was this taken and how come you have this?”
“I am Anastasia Chrenko. I have been working as a nurse for the army as a reservist for the past 20 years. I come out to various bases around the world to help treat our soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our country. My full job is in Piedmont Medical Center, Washington DC”.
“That’s where my dad works too”
“I know Doctor Hansful very well. He is not only an amazing doctor but a great man.”
Marie was lost for words. The last thing she expected coming out here was someone talking about her aggrieved father.
Nurse Anastasia went on. “Did you not know he had joined the army as a reservist?”
“Oh yes, he is so generous. He has been coming here free of charge and providing medical services to the soldiers for the past year.”
“My father and I. Well, we don’t talk. It is a long story.”
“I am sorry to hear that, Marie. I am sure whatever the problem was, it is nothing that cannot be resolved.”
“With all due respect. You have no idea what you are talking about. I disappointed him greatly. His only daughter disobeying him. He was hurt. I persisted, he disowned me. We stopped speaking. In a nutshell, it cannot be resolved”.
The nurse thought for a while before speaking. “Marie, who is Jean-Paul to you?”
“Thank you for finally asking” she answered cheekily. “He is not my brother but the love of my life. My kubolo”.
“I see the situation with your father may look hopeless, but trust me when I say it will be fine. Now you go off to the hotel. I will get an escort to take you. Get a good night’s sleep and come back refreshed, ok.”
After sending Marie off with an officer, nurse Anastasia had her shower after doing her last round in the ward. She went in to sleep in the nurse’s quarters. There she sat on her bed looking at the photo.
“Go to bed. It is late”.
“Nurse Hanna I have had enough of your rudeness today”.
“That cry baby was getting on my last nerve. I sure hope she does not return.”
“Do you know whose daughter that is? Doctor Hansful.”
“What!? Is that why you are starring at that photo. I always knew you were secretly in love with him following him every deployment he goes on”
“Oh come on Hanna. You know that is not true. This story is utterly intriguing, Hanna. She lost contact with her father and her boyfriend only to find the poor boy maimed. Not knowing it was at her own father’s hands.