By: Tamara Black

“I’ll tell you what,” he said, sitting up. “If you forego any attempt to get extra credit for helping deliver her baby, I’ll allow her into my study. She will get fifty dollars for each day’s worth of data she provides us, including interviews given by you.”

I smiled. “Deal.”

His eyes widened and his lips jutted out and his head shook - as if he was surprised at my answer.

“Very well, Daniel.” He clapped his hands. “Anything else? I need to get out of here.”

“No, sir,” I said as I stood up.

“Great. Come and see my tomorrow about the details.”

“I will. Thanks again.”

I stepped toward the door.

“Oh, one more thing,” he said.

I turned around. “What’s that?”

“I need you to stay here and grade a few first year student papers for me. It shouldn’t take you more than a few hours.”

“Well,” I looked up at the clock on his wall. “I really wanted to get back to the hospital in time to see her again tonight.”

“Grade the papers fast, and you will,” he said, walking over and patting me on the back. “It’s that stack in middle of my desk. Be sure to read them all completely. I’ll be grading you on how you grade the others. Got it?”

“Yes, sir.” I smiled, waiting until after he left to sigh deeply.

Unafraid of working hard, I rolled up my sleeves and sat behind his desk to dive into the work. If I hurried, I would be able to get to the hospital to tell her the good news. Extra money would relieve at least some of her stress.



July 25th, 2016 - Monday

After finishing the final paper – I gave the girl a B+ - I turned off the light in his office, closed the door, and rushed down the hall to the elevator. After pressing the button four or five times as if that would help it arrive sooner, I pulled out my phone and looked at the time.

Shit. Visiting hours are almost over.

The elevator seemed to be taking forever, so I took off for the stairs. It was only four flights, and the exercise wouldn’t hurt me. As I dashed down them two at a time while holding onto the railing, I thought through the best way to get across campus and to my car in the northern most parking lot.

I pushed open the door to the outside on the bottom floor and jogged toward my transportation. The car left a lot to be desired. While my parents were upper middle-class, that meant less and less in America. I still had to work hard for everything I had, including my college career.

Becoming a doctor wouldn’t be easy or cheap, but it would pay off in the long run. The thought of running my own practice someday caused me to increase me speed. As I approached the parking lot, I tried to remember where I’d parked Not many other cars were parked, which helped me find it on the other side of the lot.

The sun was a lot lower in the sky, almost gone, as I got to the car and unlocked it. I climbed inside and put my seatbelt on before starting it up. Putting my hand on the back of the headrest of the passenger side seat, I turned to look out the back window before I pulled out.

When I finally left campus and got on the highway toward the hospital, the sun had sunk completely, leaving this part of the planet in relative darkness. Traffic was light on the highway this late, which helped some, but I still wasn’t sure if I would make it in time or not.

Come on, come on, I said, passing a small blue Datsun on the left of the four-lane highway. In my mind, I calculated the risk of being pulled over for speeding and decided on going sixty miles per hour in a fifty-five mph zone. While I drove, I thought about Stephanie and what had happened earlier in the day.

It all felt very surreal. I almost couldn’t believe it had happened even though I was there and delivered the baby. None of the classes I’d taken so far had prepared me for the magic of bringing a brand new human into the world. And I hadn’t fucked it up, which made it even better.

As I neared my exit, I saw familiar red and blue lights behind me.

Fuck, I thought, glancing in my rearview mirror. I saw a State Trooper behind me.

“I already got pulled over today,” I complained to myself as I put my blinker on and headed to the side of the road.

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