5. I bought a dress today, little black dress, cap sleeves, faux wrap bodice, comfortable and elegant. It’s going to look smashing with my red pumps in honor of Kansas (there’s no place like home-for-five-years), and I’m wearing it in six months as we finish (begin?) this long medical journey.
4. I wore a dress last month, a faded cotton one-size-fits-all dress, open in the back, the same kind I’d worn three times before in three different hospitals. Three happy days and one sad, and we both cried each time and wondered how on earth we were old enough, adult enough, to be these sweet babies’ parents. To say goodbye to someone we’d never met.
3. I dolled myself up and felt so pretty at my first job after college. But then all day the comments: “you interviewing for a new job already?” “Too fancy to work here, for sure.” I was abruptly laid off ten months later when I insisted my boss give me the three months’ back pay he owed me and, even though were poor as could be, my first-year medical student sweetheart cheered when he heard and took me out to dinner. He paid with loan money.
2. A long black gown and tassled mortarboard on me and there he was, sitting by my parents in an audience of thousands, smiling and clapping as I walked across the stage, and while I earned that applause so did he, because he’d deferred his doctor dreams a year to work at a minimum wage call center so the girl he married could graduate from the only university she’d ever wanted to attend.
1. I knelt in a dress, ten years ago this spring. All white lace, a whisper of a veil on my head, perfect little diamond on my left hand. A thick band on his, may it ever rest in peace knotted to the drawstrings of a long-lost pair of green scrubs. And the happiest smile, all the way to his eyes. A perfect day.
Blastoff. I wore a skirt and he was surprised; apparently, by sophomore year most girls knew to wear jeans to a bonfire. (I don’t think he minded, though.)
It’s been 1,658 days since residency started and he’ll finish in 152 more. Over three thousand since the first year of medical school. And thirty-six hundred and counting since that skirt caught his attention. And each day, not just the red-letter Sunday-best fancy-dress days, even the soul-sucking what have we gotten ourselves into, will residency never end days, I’ve been proud to be on his team.