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I. The First Impression

I first heard the click, click of her black stilettos
Her heels narrowed to a tiny point that seemed to pierce the ground.
I imagined the floor whimpering at every step she took
The faces of terrified tiles reflecting in glistening heels

She was a conqueror, a corporate Rosie the Riveter:
Expensive sunglasses, tailored suit, burgundy lipstick
Her perfume had a haughty air of capitalism
Sunglasses concealed her eyes suggesting stoicism

Each step she took was painful
Iron weights seemed to be tied to her feet
She feigned poise, she put on a mask of stoicism
There would be no tears. There would be no fear

Not here

Not now

Her lips extended to allow a smile as she sat
Confidence and poise seemed so natural for her
I could so easily visualize her commanding boardrooms
Her stilettos click clicking with fiscal purpose and power.

II. A Slow Realization

Quickly and softly, she asked about a breast lump
Her answers were short and pointed.
Of course I thought. Her time must be precious.
But something was amiss
She flinched during the physical exam,
She kept her sunglasses on.

Her eyes were welling up with emotions
One more of his questions would open the gates
Out they would come, those feelings
That pain she hid with suits and poise

She thought about her childhood willow tree
How she would hide in its flowing branches
How her world would become still and calm
And then she felt his touch
The stethoscope was cold and dead
She endured the wicked tool
Clenching her teeth and biting her lip
She wondered, “Does he know?”

A slight brown scar hid behind cat eye frames.
Peaking out impishly and then quickly scurrying to hide again
Her? A women with a power suit and complete confidence
Her? A women who made the ground tremble and whimper
Imagining Rosie cowering was perverse, unconscionable

III. Last Night

Last night she did cower. She hid in her room
His breath stank of stale whiskey and announced his presence
He usually stayed in his room in a hibernation of self-pity
But she smelled that mix of stale alcohol and body odor

Snapping her computer shut, her hands showed only the finest tremor
She covered the comforter over her head in the dark of her room
Her world turned pitch black deep under the covers
Breathing deeply and slowly she closed her eyes

She wanted her mind to stop racing, to be still, to be fearless.
Time seemed to freeze during her catecholamine surge
Leaving her alone with her thoughts
She remembered the crisp air near her willow tree
She thought of the night air peppered with lightning bugs

He stopped at her room, hands fumbling with the knob.
The old door opened with a creak and a click click.
Quickly and nimbly she hid her laptop under her pillow.
Replacing a laptop again would be terrible
She thought.

Beneath the covers her world was dark
Her thoughts were finally still,
Her mind was finally clear
She was tired and just wanted to sleep

Rohit Mukherjee Rohit Mukherjee (6 Posts)


Drexel University College of Medicine

Rohit is a second year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine. He graduated from Georgetown University in 2012, and then went on to teach reading to elementary school students for two years. After teaching, he worked in health policy for a year, and then matriculated to medical school. Currently, he is pursuing an MD/MPH degree and hopes to work in community health and harm reduction. He is passionate about health equity, LGBTQ rights, and racial justice. By far, his greatest skill is reciting lines from Pixar’s Up.