Thursday, June 16, 2011

PoV: Sylvia

Sylvia Salinas approached the entrance to St. Juliet hospital a few minutes before nine Monday morning.  Her ear buds were set in her ear and no sound outside her mind was penetrating her determination to be pissed off.  She repeated the same Metallica song “Unforgiven” three times now.  Different versions of course, this particular set has a pretty awesome piano solo at the beginning.
She was lost in thought from events earlier this morning.  She and Carla had a fight before she went to school.  Carla came in late the night before and Sylvia was tired of it.  Carla had two bad semesters in a row at Meadow Brook University and was on scholastic probation, and she promised her mother she would focus more on school.
Carla always has excuses.  Most of the time it’s some sorority function she has  to attend.  Co-Ed cocktail parties, beach volleyball tournaments, whatever.
She always makes me out to be the villain.  She’s the one not holding up her responsibility.
Sylvia just wanted to listen to her music and get on with her day in her lab and just process blood samples all day.  Tonight she’ll escape with her recording of Real Housewives of New Jersey and a bottle of Merlot.
Everything will blow over and be okay after that.
The entrance doors slide open when Amber from the Emergency Room rushes through to stop Sylvia.
What the heck is this chick’s problem?
Sylvia removes her ear buds.
“Sylvia, have you seen or heard the news?”
She had been in her own emotional world all morning.
“No. Why?”
“There’s been a shooting, they’re going to be sending all the injured here.  We’re going to need your help in triage.”
Super.  So much for being alone.
“No problem.  Let me go put my stuff up and get my sweater.”
Amber left after plans were made and Sylvia went back to her ear buds.  She would look at other people and see their faces contorted and depressed.  She didn’t know why, and right now she didn’t care.  Her day was ruined now since she can’t sulk with herself.
I’m a good parent, but she just pisses me off.  Now I have to deal with this.
She’s been pulled to the ER quite a few times and it can get freezing in there.  She grabs the MBU hoodie that belongs to her daughter and walks the corridors to the emergency room. She pushes open the doors and it’s the worst she’s ever seen.  Dozens and dozens of people were crowding the front desk.  Those who weren’t at the front desk were glued to the television.
Apparently it’s something huge.
Sylvia removed her ear buds and focused on the TV news report.
“…Gutierrez-Galvan live from Meadow Brook University…..”
What the?!?
after classes had begun, pulled a fire alarm and started shooting as they filed out of the classes.  Preliminary counts are six wounded, and eight dead.  Including one administrator whose name is yet to be released… 
“….where tragedy happened on campus. We understand a lone individual went into a building a little over an hour ago 
“… as well as the alleged shooter.  Early reports state it was self inflicted, but according to police on the scene the alleged shooter was killed by a teacher, with one the killer’s own guns.”
What class does Carla have?Where should she be now?She should be in class.Why hasn’t she called?I told her she needs to get her act together and go to her classes.Even the early Monday ones.Oh crap, what if she was one of the ones wounded or shot?I’m a good mother, I would know if something happened to my baby, right?Was I too hard on her?Should I have let her make her own rules?I didn’t want her to do the same things I did.I only wanted the best.Why hasn’t she called?
Pregnant at fifteen by a boy who said he’d always be there.  Sylvia was eight months pregnant with Carla when Jesse took off.  He said he wasn’t ready to be a father and took off.  Sylvia was a statistic.  Hispanic Teenager who is pregnant by a boy who is no longer around.  She hated that people looked at her in judgement.  She knew she had to make the best for herself and Carla.
When she finished high school and then went to vocational school to become a Lab Tech, she wanted to show Carla that it takes hard work to get things and not let society label you a statistic. She was going to be a archetype for the young girls who were like she used to be.
Sylvia’s concentration was momentarily broken by Vivian who works in the lab as well.
“Sorry about the pinprick.  We’re making them for the family of the students who go to the school.”
Sylvia looked down to see a maroon ribbon pinned to her blue scrubs.
“Why hasn’t she called, Vivian??”
It was rhetorical, because only God knew why she hadn’t called, but Vivian answered anyways.
“I’m sure she’s okay, Syl. You need anything?”
Sylvia shook her head and focused back on the television.  She stopped listening to the reporter, but was focusing on the background images of a parade of stretchers on their way to awaiting ambulances.  She knew which stretchers contained the dead.
They were the slow moving ones.
She finally pulled out her cell phone and dialed her daughter’s number.  Not taking her eyes off the live images of the dead parade, she listened to the ringing and then voice mail.
She dialed again.
Listening to the ringing and watching the convoy of stretchers she notices one of the paramedics go through something.  Maybe a purse?  Pulls out a phone, opens it and pushes a button.

Carla’s ringing stops suddenly and goes to voice mail.


It has to be coincidence.

She calls again.

The same ringing.  She eyes the paramedic from before who goes through the purse again.  Looks at the phone.  Opens and puts it to his ear.

“I’m so very sorry!”

Sylvia’s eyes roll back and she collapses on the floor.



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