“I don’t think that poor little boy would have survived the amount of time it would’ve taken to break down that man’s defenses.” Marta fought to control her frustration.
“I thought you were pretty amazing standing up to one of the most powerful men in the village,” said John.
“I saw her do more things than this,” said Tucker.
Sandy emerged from the hut. Upon seeing her, Marta ran to check on Digul.
“Well, it doesn’t seem his condition is critical. His vital signs are weak, he has a fever, but there is no real danger. Everyone did well keeping him cooled off,” said Sandy.
“What can I do to help? Are you going to do something for his leg?” asked Marta.
“Of course we will fix his broken leg, but first I need a few things from you. Continue rubbing him down with water-soaked rags. I gave him some antibiotics for the infection. That, along with a good amount of water, should flush him out. His fever should break, but make sure he takes
these.” Sandy held out a small bottle of aspirin. “These are for you, but I am sure you can spare a few for the boy.”
“I’ll make sure it all gets done. Thanks, Sandy. You were good back there.”
“Hey, hey, I’m not finished. Don’t forget why I came in the first place. Let’s go to your hut and get started.” Sandy pointed for Marta to lead the way.
“I hope we won’t need any shots,” Marta sighed.
“I don’t know, you might get lucky. I haven’t been giving too many this last trip. A lot of the required series are complete,” Sandy said.
“I can take whatever pain to stay productive and healthy,” said Marta.
They glanced back and saw John standing alone.
“John, you’ll have to excuse us for a few minutes, okay?” Sandy called back.
“What has it been like flying around with John this past week?” Marta asked, while Sandy shined a powerful light in her ear.
“Quite an experience. He is good company, a great help, and I think he is starting to fit in well. Now open wide and say aaaah,” Sandy instructed.
“Aaaah, I hate having a tongue depressor in my mouth. Why doesn’t anybody invent flavored ones?” Marta asked.
“Good question. How has it been having him as your supporter?” Sandy countered.
Marta took a deep breath as Sandy listened to her lungs through the stethoscope. “I like it. His visits are fun, I get to show him new things and he tells me about home. There is always something to talk about.” She breathed a little more deeply as she spoke of John.
“That’s interesting,” Sandy commented while listening to Marta’s heart.
“What? Is something wrong?”
“No, I mean it’s interesting that you admit you enjoy his company. Are you fond of him?” Sandy asked.
“I don’t know. I think I am, but it’s too soon to tell. Plus, I feel guilty for the mixed feelings I have for him and my duty here. I haven’t even considered a relationship with anyone since Raymond,” Marta replied.
“I don’t think you should feel guilty about that,” Sandy said while glancing over Marta’s medical records in search of immunization history.
“I know. But I don’t think he is the least bit concerned with beginning a relationship when all his goals seem to center around flying. I don’t think I could ever leave my work here, and we don’t have enough in common to even think about coming together,” said Marta.
“In a few months,” Sandy answered, preoccupied with the records.
“A few months?”
“It says right here your last shot was this past quarter. You are good for another few months,” Sandy added cheerfully.
“You aren’t even listening. You medical people can never see the emotional side. There is a human in this body, not just a patient to poke and prod,” Marta complained jokingly.
“I’m sorry, I guess I was too involved in your records,” replied Sandy.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, is the author of Commitment-A Novel and other non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.