“Hi, I’m Val! Can I sit beside you?” his green eyes staring widely at me.
“Sure. I’m Grace. You’re in surgery, too?” I asked, hoping for a favourable response.
“Yup, I guess we’re the new slaves here!” he chuckled. “Can I call you G instead? Grace is kinda long for me.”
“Ok, why not!” he seemed nice.
So we were listening to Dr. Armstrong, the hospital administrator, talking about expectations, and the usual welcome speech. There were other speakers, too, and then Dr. Williams’ name was called. He is the surgery department head. I need to listen to this, if I want to survive.
“Where you from?” , Val whispered.
“Philippines” , and I motioned him to keep quiet.
“Any hot guys there?” he playfully asked.
Is this guy asking if I have a boyfriend?? “What?” I asked, to clarify whatever he is trying to tell me.
“I like exotic looking guys, olive skinned.” he smiled.
“Oh, right. Lots.” I almost fell out of my seat. First good looking guy I met turned out to be gay. Crap. I have such bad luck in men.
The orientation lasted for 3 hours, then we head onto our respective departments. I would say we were around 60 new residents all in all. In surgery, we were 10 in our department. There were 2 other girls, Annette and Olga. Both are already married, and so are 4 of the guys. Dr. Lopez, the chief resident, showed us around. UCSF is a big hospital, and I’m glad that I have new friends. Phil, as Dr. Lopez wants to be called, seem friendly and approachable. The others were snotty, as if they were the hotshots around the hospital. By the time the tour ended, our schedule was posted at the surgeon’s locker room. My day starts at 7am, and ends up at 7pm... everyday. I will go on a nightly 16 hour duty every 3 days, from 6pm to 10 am the following day. It’s all good, I need this to take my mind off things. Besides, cutie Val and I have the same scheduled shifts.
God, it’s already 4 pm! I feel tired already, it’s good that there are 2 more days before my night duty. We were dismissed early, and, alas, I am known to everybody as G.
“Let’s go have some coffee!!” Val grabbed my hand, not even waited for my reply.
“Uh, okay.” I don’t drink coffee, but I just wanna hang out with him.
He ordered a vanilla latte, venti, while I ordered for just iced tea.
“Tea?? What are you??” he raised his eyebrows. Somehow, I find him amusing. How can he be gay, since he looks hot. Nice chiselled face, curly brown hair. Those green eyes that makes me squirm when he looks at me...okay, he IS gay, G, get it?? His butt looks firm, he must be working out. I’d better stop. This is pointless.
I took a sip of my tea...yuck!! Why is this not sweet? Is this the ice tea in America?? I saw him trying to suppress a laugh..
“What? Spill it out!!” I scowled.
“Honey, look at you. You look so naive. You came in wearing that secretary attire, complete with your satchel... you look like an intern!! Not in a hospital, though, but an intern at a law office!! Here you are, sipping tea...baby, you need to relax!!” He sipped his coffee with his pinky pointing outwards.
“ But, I don’t drink coffee!!” and he looked at me with such horror in his eyes.
Val is a Bay area native. He has an on again, off again relationship with a guy named Paul. Right now, he’s just happy to have Paul as his “friend with benefits”. We talked a lot, actually. I’m glad I have a new friend. A cute, hot, GAY friend. Yay!!
I told him where I live, just one block away from the hospital. He says he lives in Potrero, I don’t even know where that is. I only know my surroundings within a 2 mile radius. I am that scared to explore. I don’t even know how to drive. Back home, my dad and grandpa were the ones who drove us around. There are also a LOT of public utility vehicles, such as the iconic jeepney, buses for long trips, and we even have tricycles to pick you up and drop you off, so you don’t have to walk. How far is the walk, you ask? It’s even less than half a mile!! You see, where I come from, people are kinda scared to walk for fear of being mugged. So, I liked the idea of walking to and from work here, it’s a short distance anyway.
Val and I said our goodbyes, and I headed for home. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.
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