(First time visiting during this year's A to Z Challenge? Start here.)
"Jaundice. Enlarged spleen. Mononucleosis. Alopecia. Ingrown toe nails."
I looked my sister up and down. "Open your mouth." She did. I peered inside.
"I don't think you have any of those things, " I replied. I glanced down at her feet. "I take that back. You might have an ingrown toenail. But if you soak it in hot water, it will heal right up. "
"You're wrong. Look at the whites of my eyes. They are the color of egg yolks," she said, raising her eyebrows and staring so that I could get a better look. I looked.
"Definitely not egg yolk-y. They do look a little blood shot, though. Have you been smoking marijuana?" I asked.
"Very funny. You know I would never put such a vile substance as that into my body," she said.
"And yet, you want me to write you a prescription for antibiotics, which, by the way, would not even be used to treat any of your supposed conditions. This conversation is really starting to bore me. Can we please go do something else?" I said.
"What is the point of having a doctor for a sister is she won't even help me in my hour of need?" She went on. "You wouldn't understand. You've never been sick a day in your life. I feel terrible. I need help." Her eyes brimmed with tears.
My patience was long gone, but the tears almost made me feel sympathetic. They probably would have if we hadn't had this same conversation every week for the past month.
Ever since her boyfriend left her for some girl he met in a bar, my sister Magenta has had a serious case of dump-itis, which was manifest in an even worse case of hypochondria. As her best friend, sister, and temporary roommate, my means of escape from her long list of maladies was limited.
Someone knocked on the apartment door. Based on my silent prayers over the past four weeks, I could only assume it was an angel of God, sent to take me far away from this place. Or, at least, one of those people holding a huge check with my name on it.
Magenta eyed me dolefully. Apparently, answering the door was not an option in her current state. I shuffled across the living room and undid all four of the locks, then turned the handle.
A handsome stranger stood before me, holding, oh yes, a check. Sure, it was a normal sized one, but given the hand that was holding it, I'd take it. I rolled my eyes heavenward and nodded. Not bad.
"Are you Ruby Brown?" Even my ridiculous name sounded good coming from his mouth.
"Yes, I am. Is that for me?" I gestured to the check. Rude, yes, but it had been a long day, and it was only two in the afternoon.
"Well, um, yes, but I should explain—Can I come in?"