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Those Things We Leave Unspoken
The first time we met, it was your first day at County. It was that awful, horrible day when Mark Greene was attacked in the men's restroom. The only thing that registered at the time was your hair. Blonde and silky, carelessly pinned up. How I longed to pull out those pins and watch it cascade down your shoulders.
The next thing I noticed, a few days later, was your smile: genuine, warm and very sexy. The problem was, you weren't smiling at me. You were smiling at John Carter.
Carter likes blondes; he always has. But, then again, so do I. We were friends, in our way, until you arrived on the scene. Once he finally accepted the fact that I wasn't interested in men, we were friends. But he wanted you, and so did I.
That day you walked into the lounge and caught us arguing, it was about you. He accused me of preferential treatment towards you, and he wasn't entirely wrong. But I wasn't about to admit it to him. And you came in, smiling, and wanted to know what we were talking about. I complimented you, saying something about how nice your hair looked.
I did it just to piss him off. I wished I could say it to you when we were alone. But we rarely were alone. And of course, I knew you weren't interested in me, not like that. Still, I wish I'd had the chance.
I knew that you and Carol went to Elizabeth's place one night for drinks. When I heard about it later, I was hurt; hurt and angry that I wasn't included. I know how silly that soundsI wasn't even in the ER, I had the day off. Would you have included me? If I'd been there, would you have tossed your hair and asked me to come along?
Carter took you to the Christmas party, after you donated that bone marrow. I didn't dare let you know I was interested. It would have shaken you to the core. I knew how you were raised: a nice Catholic girl, just like me. I was taught my feelings were wrong and shameful, just like you. The difference is, I never believed it, but I know you did. I recall your reaction; how you ran from the room when Kerry wanted you to assist with the abortion. I don't think I could bear it if you ever ran from me.
There was a time when I almost took that chance. I was about to ask you to go for drinks with me. You must have intuited something, because the words never passed my lips. I think you changed the subject. You told me about Max, and Philadelphia. But I never expected him to show up at County.
Not even Carter could compete with Max. I watched him watching you, when that cab pulled up, as Max took you in his arms. And I knew that my face must have had the same look on it as Carter's did: disappointment, embarrassment and ultimately, dull and lonely acceptance.
I never did get the chance to tell you goodbye when you left; I was up to my elbows in a bleeding kid's gut, frantically working with Kerry to save the boy's life. But he died. And you walked out of my life forever, back to Philly, back to Max.
I still think of you, Anna, and I hope you're happy and fulfilled. My own life is pretty rocky these daysand I doubt I'll be here at County much longer. Romano is doing his best to get me tossed out, and now that Elizabeth has decided not to make a statement, I'm checking out other hospitals, maybe even other states. It's time to move on. You did, and now, so must I. As we all do, sooner or later.
I think now that I may have been more than a little in love with you, Anna. Of course I was. There was so much about you to love. I do have one souvenir of those days: an old Polaroid taken at someone's birthday party-- it seemed as if there was always a birthday cake around back then. It's faded now and I can barely make out your smile and your hair. All that it means is I'm going to have to work a little harder to keep your memory intact. Is it really better to have loved and lost? How can I feel I've lost something I never had to begin with?
I don't have the answer to that question.
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