As Kristi walked into the Kemmerer Community Hospital she stopped, looking at herself in the window. She saw her blue eyes, blue jeans and her blue sweat shirt. Although she was supposed to say “Merry Christmas!” happily she didn’t feel it. She was spending Christmas alone in Wyoming. She worked at the hospital, but because she was alone in the west she volunteered to bring her German Shepard, Yippy, in to brighten up the patients who were stuck there just like her.
“Let’s go Yippy.” she said gently tugging the leash. As she went from room to room giving out the gift bags she had made, she felt better. After her rounds she went to the front desk.
“Are there any patients who need my attention Katie?” she asked.
“ A person in room C-14 asked if she could see you.” Katie replied simply.
So, Kristi walked to the third floor. When she knocked on the C-14 door the answer came sharp, but very clearly.
Kristi walked in. There on the bed lied an old women who, Kristi had learned from the woman’s doctors, had cancer. Kristi looked around the room. On the nightstand were medals and pins.
“Where’d you get those medals?” she asked.
“I earned them of course!” yet again there was the sharp voice stabbing through the air, “You see I was a nurse in the Korean War. I got in the way of a gun and got shot. and that some how caused the cancer. Of course I wasn’t supposed to be in the way. So, they said it was my mistake.” the last sentence she had said with loathing as though she wanted to spit.
“How’d you get in the way?” now this was getting interesting.
“I took a little walk. Wasn‘t the smartest, but if they expected us to stay stuck in that tent they were completely wrong.”
Kristi looked at her with a questioning look. That still didn’t answer her question. She still had one thing she wanted to know.
“Why did you want to see me and my dog then?”
“They predict I might die before Christmas. I thought you and your dog would be good company.” at that Yippy barked as though he knew what she had said.
“What’s your name.” Kristi was getting more and more sucked into the conversation.
“In the army my name was Alex, because it was less common, but my real name is Juliana.”
"Which one do you prefer being called?” Kristi implied quickly.
“Alex.” she said simply.
That day Alex told Kristi stories until it got dark at 6:00 then the next few days after Kristi’s shift and rounds with Yippy, Kristi wouldn’t leave till she heard at least three stories from Alex.
A friendship grew fast between them. Kristi thought it was nice to have company that was stuck there like her. Christmas Eve came and Kristi gave Alex a nice case for the medals and pins. Alex informed her that the doctors had said that her cancer was getting worse and that they still predicted she would die.
Her last battle. Kristi had thought. Out of all the battles she had seen during the Korean War she wondered if this was harder than any of them. She’s so strong. Kristi would think over and over but she knew that Alex would die. Kristi was truly going to miss her friend.
On Christmas Alex told Kristi she could have her medals and pins when she died. That night right after Kristi left, Alex died. So when Kristi went the next day she received the medals and pins from the war. Kristi has kept them as a memory of her friend and the battle of Christmas.
Kristi realized that the battle of the cancer had been hopeless for Alex but how she had kept fighting, made Kristi proud. Kristi took a lesson she had never quite learned growing up and that was, fight to the end.
Abbie Kemmerer (email@example.com)
Sent to Polseguera on 3rd July, 2008.