I sat across from Amber, each of us clutching a warm cup of coffee. Amber was staring off to the side, lost in thought. I looked at her intently. She looked tired, defeated. We had just finished a very long conversation about the state of our lives, careers. It was one of those conversations that only left more questions. We both had dreams. We watched each other over the years struggle to reach them. Now that we had, there were doubts.
“What’s happened to us? “ I asked.
The question pulled Amber back to reality. She focused on the top of her cup and shrugged her shoulders.
I remember the first time I met Amber. It was 15 years ago on the first day of medical school. Either by random chance or by divine intervention, Amber and I found ourselves seated next to each other in class. She was tiny, but exuded a larger than life kinetic energy. Her husband would later call it her “sparkle.” Her little body could barely contain it, like a puppy. During a break between lectures, we stood together outside as she took a drag on a cigarette. I had never seen someone smoke like that before, as if she could inhale the entire cigarette at once. She spoke quickly, her voice was loud and animated and she punctuated her sentences with obscenities. I liked her immediately.
We were idealists. We were outsiders. We weren’t the kids of doctors or even the kids of college graduates. Neither of us came from money and Amber came from even less than me. There was something “street” about both of us especially in contrast to our well-manicured classmates. We had found each other, huddled together and survived the onslaught that was medical school.
Over the years we stayed connected, sharing stories about our work, our families, our dreams. We encouraged each other through the hard times. We were going to do this, we were going to make it and we did, but here we were after all these years at a crossroads.
“I have an idea, Amber, but I’m not really sure if it will work.”
“Well, tell me, what is it?” She looked at me with a glimmer of the remnants of that kinetic energy from long ago, her “sparkle.”
“I call it Deconstructing Doctor.”