What A Human Body Should Look Like

I take the deepest breath of my life.

“Bill, let’s go. Don’t look at her face. I want her blood pressure, now.”

I take the deepest breath of my life everyday at 4:45 p.m. before the sliding doors open.

“Bill, get up on the table, push her face together and hold it. I need to get her face back roughly to where it should be if I’m going to.”

I take the deepest breath of my life everyday at 4:45 p.m. before the sliding doors open and the disinfected hospital stench engulfs me. I hold it for as long as I can before slowly exhaling and becoming Bill. My friends call me Billy. At 4:45, when that breath escapes, I’m Bill, an ER transporter.

People say you get desensitized after a while. Not everybody does. Bill did, but Billy never will.

After a couple weeks, blood is blood. Sometimes I’d see a face on the stretcher and I’d forget where the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth were supposed to be. Rarely do I see an arm stick out at an angle that I’ve never seen before.

People say you get desensitized after a while. Part of you does. Bill did, but Billy never will.

I’m tearing a women’s shirt off and applying pressure. I look up to the face and it’s my mother on the stretcher. Her face looks perfectly normal, but she’s blonde, not a redhead. Someone taps me on the shoulder. It’s Billy.

“Bill, save her,” he yells. “Save her.”

I wake up panting. My sheets stick to my sweaty arms and legs. I strip while shuffling toward the bathroom. Unable to sleep, I stand naked in front of my bathroom mirror; it reminds me what a human body should look like.

Carter Stanton may be contacted at r.stanton@umiami.edu.

April 21, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.