Six Degrees

I remember her biting wit, her intelligence, her brisk kindness. I hadn’t seen her in over twenty-five years. The other day, I heard her voice and saw her face from the end of the operating table. She was about to be anaesthetised for surgery. I was the surgical assistant.

I tried not to stare but her eyes kept scanning my face, despite the staff who were busying around her. I think she sensed I was someone she’d once known, but couldn’t place me. She was being given sedation and I knew she wouldn’t recall any conversation from that point onwards. It wasn’t the time to speak of the past – she had enough to deal with in the present. Within minutes, she was given the thick white liquid that sent her into oblivion.

I told the surgeon of my long-ago link with the patient, and although she knew some of her patient’s life story, I filled in a few more details. Mostly, how much her patient was respected and admired. She had sass, she had smarts and I thought she was the ants pants.

Wish I could have told her so.