Mark: You gonna paint the house?
Doug: Naw, no need.
Carol: (nudges Doug) Doug, it could use a coat or two.
Chuny: Uh-oh, some marital issues are beginning to rise here, eh?
Elizabeth: (laughs, leaning on Mark’s shoulder) At any rate, when should we arrive?
Mark: Yeah, with the whole ER in tow.
Doug: (grins) Ceremony’s at 7.
Mark: Wow, you are finally prepared.
Doug: (nods) It’s finally going to happen. (Looks at Carol, there’s a pause, looks back at everyone) So this is it…
Carol: (speaks for him, her eyebrow creases slightly, she twitches, then sighs) I’m going to miss you all so much.
Haleh: Awww, Carol, (wipes her eye) Girl, it’s not gonna be the same
Carol: I know, Haleh, (looks
down, then up again, gazes at everyone, shaking her head) I love this place.
I mean, so much…so much has happened here… (smiles weakly)
Doug: Life’s a bitch, mine just had puppies.
Carol: No, (nudges Doug) I mean… (sighs) It’s been long. A long road…
Elizabeth: Where are you going?
Where have you been? (grins, rests her hand on Mark’s)
Carol: I found myself here…
Lydia: Good to hear it. Wonder
when I will…(smirks self-consciously)
Doug: (checks his watch) Well,
we’d better go. (stands up, puts Tess in carrier)
Carol: (stands stiffly, sits Kate next to Tess, pauses, stands there, a tear escapes her eye) Bye everyone.
Mark: (embraces her) Promise
me you’ll never work again. (smiles)
Chuny: (pecks Doug on the
cheek) Good luck, Dr. Ross. (hugs him)
Doug: Thanks Chuny.
Haleh: (her head on Carol’s shoulder) You come back, Carol. Soon. Real soon.
Doug: (to Mark, pats him on the shoulder, hugs him meaningfully) Take care. And…tell me how Carter’s doing, all right?
Mark: (nods solemnly, looks into Doug’s eyes) You better e-mail me, remember my birthday.
Doug: I know everyone’s birthday. (smiles. He’s thinking about Carol’s words as he speaks) Thanks everybody. For changing my life.
Carol: (holds Doug’s hand) Bye.
Let’s go before I fall apart. (waves briefly, they walk out of Magoo’s
and out onto the street.)
(They stop at a crosswalk and
as they’re waiting, Carol clears her throat and kisses Doug on the lips,
Carol: Doug, I love you.
Doug: I love you too.
Carol: Really, you know how much you’re done for me.
Doug: Not that much.
Carol: We’re going to spend forever together.
Doug: Absolutely. Finally. You
realize how long it took for me to get to say that? (chuckles deeply)
(Carol joins his laugh, and
they cross the street, hand in hand, each pushing the twins’ stroller
together. They reach the other side of the street when Carol drops the diaper
bag a few feet from the sidewalk. They get the twins to safety and Carol
shuffles back out to the asphalt hastily)
(Suddenly, an inattentive, incoherent, irresponsible driver rounds the corner. Brakes screech, the car slams Carol to the ground…)
(Carol sighs, the hard ground slicing her skin. She felt some blood trickling down her forehead, and she suddenly felt very exhausted. She could see the blurry image of Doug racing towards her and cursing at the driver, shaking his fist angrily, then his hand leaning forward to touch her…
Her world went black. She
rested. She thought to herself in that void, that silence, that she was very
near the hospital, the twins were safe, she hoped, and that her trusted doctors
and friends would take care of her well. Her thoughts quieted as she entered
into sleep, dreaming nothing…
Soon she could hear the
sounds of a busy hospital, the sweet chirps of delicate birds hopping on thin
branches just outside her window. She heard voices. A nurse nearby. She didn’t
know who exactly. She guessed it was probably Conni. It sounded like her. She
smiled, and gently opened her eyes, feeling placid.
It was morning, and Carol was
surprised at first that she had been out for so long. But she accepted it,
hearing the appeasing rhythm of her EKG just next to her. Conni’s back was
turned to her, but when Carol sighed, she spun around. Her face went pale, her
mouth gaped open, and she gasped with inexplicable relief.)
Conni: Carol…(runs to bed,
holds her hand)
Carol: Conni…(shuts eyes for a moment, opens them) Close call?
Conni: I’d say. Carol, are you all right?
Carol: (sighs and grins) I’m fine. Yeah. A little shaken. But I’ll live. How –
Conni: I’m getting Mark…(she darts out of the room, her ER slippers scuffing the ground. Carol begins to wonder why she was so shocked. Carol was sure she was alright. She felt her stomach. Didn’t seem like anyone had done surgery for internal bleeding. She put her hand to her head. That’s funny, she thought. No one put a bandage on my head? I could have sworn I cut it…)
(Mark soon appeared in the doorway, his eyes large, tired, worried. He approached Carol warmly, sitting on a stool beside her.)
Mark: Carol, we all were so concerned…(he sighs, checking her vitals) You were…pretty lucky. We didn’t think you’d…
Carol: God, Mark, what happened to me? Was it that bad?
Mark: (jaw drops, he stutters) Carol, you don’t remember?
Carol: I do I do. Don’t look so worried. You look like you haven’t gotten any sleep. This really wasn’t worth that.
Mark: Carol, there are a few things we need to talk about. And if you ever need someone to talk to there are –
Carol: Mark! (irritated) What are you going on about? I’m fine. Look at me. Look, I’m smiling, (points to her smile) Stop worrying.
Mark: (creases eyebrows, voice cracks) It was a miracle…
Carol: (hisses) Mark, get some sleep. Anyway, have you seen Doug?
Mark: (leans back a little in surprise) Yes, why?
Carol: (slowly, getting a little anxious) Beeecause…I’d like to make sure he’s all right.
Mark: He’s fine. (stands, eyes boring into Carol.) Why…I mean…why wouldn’t he be fine?
Carol: (shakes head, her eyes watching Mark, his nervous mannerisms, his frightened look) are – are the girls all right?
Mark: The girls? What? Oh…(scratches bald spot, assumes she means the nurses) It’s another work day…they’re fine.
Carol: (squints) What?
(Carol is interrupted by another presence in the room. Susan paces through the door, and walks calmly to Carol’s side, although her stare at her is one of awe and disbelief.)
Susan: Carol…(glances at Mark, holds her hand) How’s her barbituate?
Carol: (jaw dropped, staring at Susan) Susan, what are you doing here? (smiles, laughs) When did you arrive? And you’re…you’re in a lab coat. You already get your job back?
Susan: (touches Carol head, strokes it gently) Carol, it’s all right. We were all a little shaken up. (looks at Mark) Barbituate level?
Mark: (looks at chart) It – It’s going down. How??
Susan: Is she alert? I mean…is she…damaged…
Mark: (takes flashlight, shines it in her eyes) No, doesn’t seem like it.
Carol: (her eyes are darting about, and she’s starting to realize they may just be joking with her) Barbituate level? Guys…stop it. I know what you’re doing. Great joke. Mark, you got Susan to come all this way just for a prank? Very unlike you…(giggles)
(Mark and Susan look at each other, silently understanding, sharing the same concern. They look back at her, and Susan tightens her grip on her hand)
Susan: Carol, what day of the week is it?
Carol: It’s a Thursday. I think. I don’t know. I’m kind of out of it right now. (smiles meekly) So Susan, we have a lot to catch up on. Where did –
Susan: (interrupts, with some fear in her voice) Carol, what’s the date? Month…day…year…
Carol: Well, if it’s a Thursday then it’s May 19, 2000. Guys, joke’s over.
Susan: (sends a startled look
Carol: (thinks she just playing along) What? Ok, guys, (smiles) What day is it?
Mark: (sighs, heads for the door) March 21,1994. Susan, could I see you?
Carol: (she freezes, suddenly becoming helplessly aware of the situation. Mark – Susan – they looked different. At least Mark. He had at least 5 inches more hair than he did last time she saw him, which was last night, she thought…She began to feel frightened, bewildered, and she didn’t understand why. She spoke anxiously, sharply) Mark! Come back. Susan…I have two baby girls, Kate and Tess. (It’s just a joke Carol, they’re just razzing you. She continued though, frantically) I have friends. Mark, you have Elizabeth, Susan, you….you’re…I don’t know about you. Doug – Mark where’s Doug? (her voice lost its strength) Please find Doug. Doug – he’s – we were leaving for Seattle, remember, with our babies. I love him…Mark, you KNOW that. Mark? Mark you were attacked 3 years ago, Susan you LEFT 3 years ago… (she was babbling on and on, worrying Mark and Susan more and more. She couldn’t stop) I was held up at a convenience store…tell me you remember. Carter – Mark – Carter and Lucy got stabbed and Lucy died and….Carter got addicted to painkillers and he’s in detox… (she felt like she was going crazy) Mark…so much…
Mark: (staring at her, bemused, deeply frightened, frightened of the unknown, the unimaginable) Carol, you’ll be all right. Susan, come with me.
(They departed, and Carol sat
there, on the brink of sobbing. This was unreal. She wanted to go back – back
to where she had been. She wanted to be with Doug, to have her life together,
her life the way she finally wanted it. She wanted that closure. Where was she?
This was a cruel joke…or she was just taking it too harshly.
Soon a young woman in an
uptight business suit came in with a smile. She was a psych consult. Carol knew
them well. Carol sighed as she talked down to her, as if she were crazy. But she
wasn’t. Oh…where was Doug…where was her life…She wanted to go back so
badly. She ached for it again. Something wasn’t right.
She was just overreacting.
She reached for her belongings but the psych woman clutched her arm)
Psych: (smiles nervously) Um, Carol, you can’t leave yet. We still have things to talk about.
Carol: (puts her index finger
up in the air, looks her in the eye) Don’t worry. One moment. I need to
see something. (fumbles through her purse, finds her wallet. She sees the
pictures of her mom, pictures of her friends that she thought she had stowed
away. The wallet – hadn’t she replaced that? Replaced it with a newer one?
One with leather…and a brass clasp for the coin case?
She finally comes upon her
driver’s license, nods quietly, and puts it away again. She folds her hands in
her lap and stares at the psych woman, letting the droning of her voice take her
Her license would expire two
years later, in 1996. She thought back to when she got it renewed…she
remembered that day…she REMEMBERED IT! It had ALREADY HAPPENED! She began to
boil up inside, watching this woman. Watching…watching reality sink in. her
mind racing, thinking of everything…wondering what was her past, what was her
future…wondering where the past 6 years, 8 days, 12 hours had gone…)