Nuri, Continued

Nuri, Continued (October 2019, Week 2, Day 7)

Nuri was the only one who had seen it. The cute couples strolling, the joggers, the dog walkers, the students – not a single one of them had seen it, but she had. The symmetry of someone so invisible being the only one to see made her chuckle, in spite of the gravity of the moment. She had seen it, and she had acted. Now, sitting on the back step of the ambulance wrapped in a blanket only marginally thicker than the ones they gave out at the shelter, she waited and watched.

Some of the hubbub was dwindling. One ambulance had already screamed away, carrying someone very unfortunate off to the hospital. Nuri hadn’t gotten to see them on land. Hadn’t gotten to see how they were. She’d wanted to talk to them before anyone else arrived, though not knowing if she’d helped them survive or thwarted their attempt to die, what they’d had to say might have been hard to hear. 

“You’re quite the hero.”

Nuri looked up and found herself flanked by two police officers. They were both smiling. Nuri shook her head. “Not a hero.” Her chattering teeth made it sound like she had a stutter again.

“I think the woman in that last ambulance might disagree with you.” The fleshier of the two officers reached into his back pocket and took out a notebook that was too small for his large hands. “What’s your name, hero?”

“Am I in trouble?”

“Not that I know of.” The officer’s smile widened. “Is there something you need to confess?”

Nuri pulled the blanket tighter, forming a cocoon with only her head left showing. She shook her head.

“Thank goodness. The paperwork for arresting heros is mighty complicated. Now, what’s your name?”

“Can I just go?”

The other officer bent down so she was eye level with Nuri. “How will that lucky woman find you later if we don’t include your name in the report?”

“I don’t need her to find me. I don’t want any attention.”

“I think those camera crews have other ideas for you.”

Nuri followed the woman’s gaze and saw three news vans pulling up, blocking the ambulance. 

“Look, Hero,” Officer fleshy pressed. “You give us your name and we’ll get you into the ambulance and on your way before those vultures have a chance to unload.”


“Nuri what?”

“That’s it. My name is Nuri. Can we go now?”

Nuri watched as the two officers looked from her to the news vans. She wanted to run but could tell her legs wouldn’t have gotten her very far very fast. Waiting for people who held her fate in their hands was familiar and terrifying. After an eternal thirty seconds, Nuri heard the woman say, “I’ll go with her,” before she passed out.


“That was something of a sleep, Nuri Hero.”

Nuri’s eyes snapped open. She was the warmest she’d been in a long time, possibly forever, which was more disorienting than the almost familiar voice at the side of her head. The room was too bright, too loud, and too full of smells to be anything but a hospital. Nuri took a deep breath before moving her arms and let out a sigh when she was able to bring them out from under the blanket without resistance.

“If the nurses hadn’t shown me their reports I’d think you were avoiding me.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Do you know what day it is, Nuri?”

Before Nuri could answer there was a knock at the door that barely preceded it opening. A woman dressed in an overly colorful top, scrub pants, and sensible shoes bustled over to the bed singing, “Sleeping beauty finally awakens!” Nuri didn’t recognize the woman or the tune but found herself smiling. 

“I’m Estelle, your nurse for today. Let’s get you sitting up, now that you’re awake. No, no – let me do it with the bed, you just lay back and we’ll take it slow after all this time. Do you feel light headed at all? Does anything hurt?”

Nuri kept her eyes on the nurse and felt the room spin a bit as the bed moved her into a more upright position. “I’m ok,” was all she had to say.

“Well, that’s up for the doctor to determine in the end, isn’t it? What you and I can do is get you all set to meet them.” The nurse patted Nuri’s blanketed leg before shifting her focus to the computer at the side of the bed. “Some questions for you – what’s your name?


“Nuri what?”

“Just Nuri.”

Estelle lost her rhythm for a moment before saying, “Just Nuri, can you tell me what day it is?”

“Yes, can you?” 

The warmth Nuri felt from and towards the nurse was doused with the chill that came from hearing the other voice. “Isn’t it Tuesday?”

“Sadly, no. Tuesday was a good day but it’s come and gone.” When Nuri’s face fell the nurse continued, “Don’t fret. It’s hard to orient after traumatic events.”

“So, what day is it?” Nuri’s toes curled while she waited for the nurse to answer. Before the nurse could open her mouth, the other person in the room spoke.

“You arrived here on Tuesday. Today is Thursday, Nuri. You’ve been out cold for two days.”

Nuri closed her eyes for a moment. Two days. She’d been in this bed, in this hospital, for two days. She felt her heart speed up, her natural flight instincts kicking in. The nurse misinterpreted her response and rushed to reassure her.

“Your body did what it needed to do. You’ll be right as rain in no time I’m sure. I’ll go let the doctor know and we’ll be back in shortly.” The nurse left, taking her warmth with her.

“I don’t want to stay here.”

“I don’t imagine you’ll need to, Nuri Hero, not once the doctor gives the ok for you to go.”

“Why are you here?”

“I said I’d come with you, remember?”

“That was two days ago.”

“True, it was.”

“You haven’t been sitting here for two days, have you?”

“No, though I have checked in on you several times since you got here.”


“I wanted to be sure you were ok.”

Nuri stared at the officer. “I’m fine.”

“No one else has come to see you, Nuri.”

There was no escaping the look of pity in the woman’s face. Nuri had seen it on so many different faces over the years, and not once had that pity done anything for her. “I’m fine.”

For a moment the officer looked like she was going to press the issue. Nuri was used to the temporary concern and was ready to brush it off. Instead, the officer stood up and put her hand on the railing of the bed. “As I can see. I’m surprised you don’t have questions for me.”


“I thought, at a minimum, you’d want to know about the woman you’d saved.”

Saved. That meant the woman had lived. The pang of guilt took Nuri by surprise. “I do. How is she?”

The knock at the door this time was slower, louder, and more insistent. Nuri kept her eyes on the officer while she said, “come in.” 

The room filled up with people piling in one after the other. The first to cross the threshold was clearly a doctor, her arrogance taking up the space of at least three people. The nurse scurried in after her and was followed by several people who looked to be about the same age as Nuri though they had stethoscopes around their necks, matching white jackets, and an air of superiority that made them seem older.

“Nuri. You’re with us now. How are you feeling?” The doctor’s eyes stayed focused on the computer while all the other eyes were focused on the doctor.

“I’m fine. I’m ready to go.”

The doctor chuckled and looked at her entourage. “That may well be true on both counts.”

“We’re ready to sign her out, Doctor.”

Nuri looked from the doctor to the officer, weighing her options. 

“I’m ok to go on my own. I don’t need signing out.” Nuri swung her legs out from under the blanket and pushed herself off the bed. She ignored the gasps from the students as she grabbed up her discarded clothing and pulled on her pants while standing next to the bed. She ignored the officer’s protests as she pulled her sweatshirt over her head. She ignored the doctor’s sputtering as she pushed past her and opened the door. The hallway was just empty enough for Nuri to find her way to the elevator unobstructed. On her way down to the lobby, Nuri pulled the hospital bracelet off of her wrist and dropped it on the floor. 


“Where’ve you been, Nuri?”

Nuri froze. The hairs on her arms stood on end as she pulled off her jacket. “Nowhere special.”

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