She was pretty, with brown hair pulled back severely and tired eyes. The bright pink of her scrubs injected a note of cheerfulness into the room that I was confident none of us felt. She carried a stack of papers which were probably parts of my chart. They were in the midst of converting to electronic records, so each interaction with a professional in this building usually involved them looking at papers, then at a screen, then back at papers.
It was inappropriate, at the very least, to think of her as pretty. She was a professional, with years of specialized training, and she was here to do her job. The fact of her appearance should matter as little as the day of the week, or the number of the room they brought me to. She was smart, and capable, but I saw pretty before I saw either of those- her face made bad news easier to take.
She was already talking as I mused to myself, and I tried to tune in quickly. There was a bit of little girl still in her voice. There was one number I needed to know-if it was less than 50, I might be around long enough to open Christmas presents. She said the number, but I didn’t quite catch it. I asked her to say it again.
Willie Mays’ number, I thought.
“My lucky number,” I said quietly to her. She smiled.