"Just ended." I shut my locker.
"I"m in Spain for the week""
"I heard," I cut him off. "Ryke Meadows is climbing a five-hundred-foot cliff." He"s a skilled professional climber, but the Hales, Meadows, and Cobalts like to ensure if the worst happens, their concierge doctor is present.
"Right," my father says a little bit distantly, his attention split. "I got a call, and you"re in distance."
Finally, we"ve reached the point. "Call" means "medical emergency." And I know exactly where this conversation is going.
I lean my shoulder casually on my locker. "I just got off a twenty-eight hour shift. Ask Uncle Trip to take your calls."
"He"s here with me in Spain."
I roll my eyes. Shit. "I"m not a concierge doctor."
"You will be after you"re board-certified," he says more clearly, loudly"assertively. "You"ve joined me on enough calls. Think of this as a test-run for when you take over as their primary physician."
I shake my head on instinct.
I know what I want to say.
Two words that I should be able to spit out. I can tell the old man fuck you fine, but I can"t say I quit.
It has more to do with me than my father. Once I tell him that I want to quit my residency and change career fields, I have to be sure that I"m ready. I have to be able to burn the white coat and be completely satisfied.
I can"t vacillate between maybe and I don"t know. I have to fucking know. Or else my father will try to convince me to stay, and I need to confidently shut that shit down.
He"s the gateway to my freedom from medicine. From a generational legacy that has consumed me for an entire lifetime. Once I open that gate, I need to walk through and never turn back around.
Right now, in this moment"I"m not a hundred-percent sure yet, and I"d rather speak to my father face-to-face than say those permanent words over the phone.
I tuck my helmet beneath my arm. "Let me call you back when I get to my apartment""
"Farrow," he says quickly, concern tensing his voice.
I push into the break room and snatch a piece of pizza on my way out. Using my shoulder to prop my phone against my ear, I tell my father, "I"ll call you back""
"Wait." He stops me from hanging up.
"Hold on," I say and wait to speak again until I"m outside, sun beating down on the pavement. Sirens blare as an ambulance speeds towards the emergency entrance, and a couple women in teal scrubs smoke on a wooden bench.
I put the phone on speaker to free my hands. "Okay." I bite into my pizza, the first thing I"ve eaten in over twelve hours. The food sits like lead in my empty stomach.
"Listen to me, Farrow. I"ve been where you are."
No shit. I check traffic before I cross the street to the parking lot.
"I know being a med intern is hard," my father continues. "You work long, excruciating hours, and you leave a shift exhausted. But whatever you saw and did today, don"t bring it home with you. Don"t let it torture you."
He assumes that I"m emotionally unavailable to handle his call. I may"ve had a fifteen-year-old girl code seven times in the past five hours, but I"ve never let any of that affect my job.
The problem: if I plan to quit medicine someday soon, then I shouldn"t be setting myself up to be a concierge doctor.
It"s that simple.
I approach my black Yamaha motorcycle in the parking lot. "I"m not that spent," I tell my father. "I"m just not exactly excited to take house calls and check a little kid"s flu symptoms."
"The call isn"t about one of the little kids, and it"s not an illness."
My brows arch, and I find myself frozen in place. Not an illness.
I can"t ignore this call. No part of me wants to sit on the sidelines when I have the ability to help. But it"s making walking away from medicine that much harder.
I kick up the Yamaha"s stand. "Who"s hurt"" I ask for details, subtly agreeing to what my father wants.
He knows it too. "We"ll talk more when you"re at your apartment. Call me back." He hangs up first, but only after he dangled a giant carrot in my face.
I pocket my phone and put on my helmet, flipping down the visor.
And like a stupid ass, I hunger towards the temptation.
When I graduated medical school, I decided to save on rent and room with other doctors from Philadelphia General. I live a little north of Center City in an old gothic school that was converted into lofts. I don"t really give a shit about the "original chalkboards" or the dark walnut paneling or a city view.
Basically, it"s cheap with three roommates and close to the hospital. Good enough for me.
Inside my apartment, I set my motorcycle helmet on the kitchen counter next to a Post-it note and then dial my father"s number.