I got a call from my first work partner (WP) the other day. I hadn’t talked to her in more than seven or eight years.
She could be brash and coarse. She didn’t take shit off of anybody and when she came walking toward you, you knew instantly that this woman COULD HURT YOU. But she was an excellent medic. She would likely tell a rowdy patient to go fuck themselves but when we were in the throes of trying to save a life and the family members were grabbing our equipment and screaming “shock ’em” in our ears, she never lost her cool.
Before she joined EMS, she was a police officer. At some point in that career, she shot her partner in the foot. (Don’t ask.)
We spent a while “catching up.” She didn’t know that I had divorced Loser but she didn’t seem to be too shaken up about it. She remembered the time our director allowed us to leave our “first due” to go watch my son play soccer. Loser was there, sitting on the bleachers when we pulled up.
We walked over and sat down. I introduced her to him and he didn’t even look at her. He just grunted. He didn’t talk to us at all. He just sat there, smoking and complaining about the other players.
After the game, we got into the ambulance and she looked at me and said “Puff (that’s what she called me) I hate to say this, but (Loser) is a fucking dick!”
Like the dutiful wife I was, I immediately started trying to come up with some way to pardon his actions. I reached down in my grab bag of excuses and played the “he probably had a headache” card. She said “he didn’t have a fucking headache…he’s a fucking dick.” I then played card #2 when I said “he probably didn’t think #4 was playing well.” She said “#4 scored three goals! How much better did he want him to play?”
She hurt my feelings. I had this overwhelming need to protect Loser and change her mind. Can you spell stupid?
When WP left EMS, she started working for a plasma center. One day she called me and told me that #4 had come in to sell his blood. They were happy to get it due to his lack of the virus that almost all of us carry. Still, he was selling his blood for booze, I guess.
I knew that WP and her mother had a strained relationship. WP was gay and her mama hated it. Her mama and daddy had been divorced for years and the split had not been friendly. A few times, we stopped by her mamas’ house while we were on duty. The first time we went there, I had a hard time not laughing when I saw that the entire front yard was full of plastic flowers that had been “planted.”
Her mama had an ear-piercing voice…almost like she wanted us to stand at least ten feet away. There was no warmth between them and she didn’t act overjoyed to meet me.
WP had an older sister and two brothers. I met her oldest sister and her husband. They had a daughter who had broken a rule or something and they had taken her car away from her. It was an almost new Mazda and they were going to sell it as punishment.
I decided to buy it for #4. It was a great car and he was so proud of it but a few months later, he sold it for $50.00.
While we were talking, she told me that she didn’t speak to her mama anymore. When I asked why, she started telling me about how her daddy had gotten sick and needed a blood transfusion. As soon as she said that, I thought “uh oh….I know where this is going.”
While blood tests were being run to see which child would be compatible, (as WP put it) “every conceivable blood type imaginable showed up.” She said “apparently, my mom was the biggest whore in the county.”
Her mama had gotten pregnant by a man but told WPs’ daddy that he was the father and made him marry her. That child was WPs’ oldest sister. WP suspects that her brothers have different fathers and that yet another man is her real father. Her daddy didn’t have a clue about any of this until, of course, he got sick.
That has to be a heavy load for anybody to carry but she seems to be taking it in stride. I know her well enough to know that it bothers her…but I also know her well enough to know that she knows there is nothing she can do about it…other than to just accept it.
I don’t know what I’d think if I found out that my daddy wasn’t my daddy. I think I would rather find out that my mama wasn’t my mama. I would say “thank God.”
WP used to always make me laugh when she said “Puff. You need to come on over to the other side.”