A young girl she tries to find out who she is personally and professionally.
| Today was the first day of the rest of Marlie's life, but like the first day of the rest of anybody's life, Marlie had no idea. Today, for her, was like any other day. The alarm went off and as usual she hit the "snooze" button for about an hour. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy her job, she loved what she did. She just wasn't a morning person. She never had been. Her mom even had to put her in the afternoon kindergarten class. Tardiness had always been a flaw of hers, which is why she always set the alarm for an hour earlier than the time she had to wake up.
Marlie spent the usual hour on her hair after her shower. Despite the time spent, it still looked tousled. That had been the look she was going for. Business suit on, she looked much older than 22. That was the reason for the messy-haired look. There was a dress code at the office, but there was no hair code. Everything exactly as she wanted, she grabbed her purse and headed towards the transit center.
None of the several cars in the driveway belonged to Marlie. She had never driven. Not once. After her quarter-mile walk, she sat on the cold cement bench and called her mother. Her mother was Marlie's best friend. Marlie was an optometry student, her mother had made her livelihood selling eyewear. Perhaps it was because she had so admired her mother that Marlie chose this profession, but if you ask Marlie, it was merely circumstantial. Although she believes it to be rare, there are certain things that Marlie believes just happen because they are meant to happen. Her profession was one of those things. She continued the conversation with her mother as she boarded the bus, it was a little noisier, but she could still hear her mother just fine. That was, until about 45 minutes into her hour-long commute. As she looked out the window, she saw about 30 children about to board. She made sure to say to her mother a few last things that she had wanted to say. Once the children boarded, she ended her conversation due to the surrounding noise. Marlie didn't know it at first, but the children were students. They were students with learning disabilities.
Marlie was not the most compassionate of people. It surprised most people who knew her well that she had chosen to have a career helping people. Had it been Marlie's sister on the bus she would've smiled and made small talk with the kids. Marlie didn't. She put her phone in her pocket and got the novel she was reading for her book club out of her purse. The young girl who had plopped down next to her was about 12 years old. Maybe a bit older or younger. Marlie wasn't good at estimating age. While the other students were talking amongst themselves, the girl sitting next to Marlie just stared at her. It made Marlie uncomfortable, so she did what she always did when people made her uncomfortable; she opened her book and started reading. It almost seemed as if the girl was trying to read over Marlie's shoulder, which would've bothered Marlie if she wasn't fairly certain the girl was illiterate. After a chapter-and-a-half, Marlie arrived at her office. She had a cigarette and then walked to the back of the office, clocking in 6 minutes early. This was good for Marlie, she had, only a few days ago, been given a written warning about her tardiness. 6 minutes early was early enough for her boss. Although he was not scheduled in until the afternoon, she knew he would be checking the time clock.
There was no reward for being on time. There were no patients scheduled for eye exams until an hour and six minutes after her clock in time. She milked the clock. She went and bought coffee, she chatted with her coworkers. It was a relatively average morning.
There was a hierarchy of job positions at the office. There were receptionists who answered phones, technicians who did all of the preliminary testing, medical billers who checked out the patients and balanced the monthly and quarterly books, scribes who worked alongside the doctors and finally the doctors themselves. Marlie was a scribe. She was the scribe for one of the associate doctors by the name of Leah Williams. Dr. Williams was laid-back and easy to work with. Marlie had assisted other optometrists, and it only heightened her appreciation for Leah.
Leah came into the office about 15 minutes late, that was acceptable though, she was a doctor.
"No patients until 11?" Leah asked, knowing the answer.
"Slow morning, but we're booked solid from 11:00 on. Strange how these things happen." Marlie was as matter of fact as she always was. She never had in-depth conversations with Leah. There were very few people she would really talk to.
"Well," Leah paused for a minute as if she had already become bored with what she would say, "I'm going to starbucks, do you want anything?"
Marlie already had her coffee from earlier. She didn't want anything. "No. I was here early. I already got coffee." Her mind was still on the bus ride she had been on this morning, she had no idea why.
After 3 or 4 patients Marlie was already exhausted, then it happened. She saw her least favorite technician seating two children in two different exam rooms. She and Leah saw one, then the other. There was something strange about them, but Marlie didn't know what. When examining children, a cardinal rule is you always explain to the parents what is going on. You explain if the child will need glasses. If they should wear them all of the time or just for reading. You answer every one of the parent's questions. This was part of Marlie's job. After the exam, she went out into the waiting room to talk to the parents. After handing the chart to the medical biller, her only real "friend" at the office, she sat down in the waiting room chair next to the only woman in the office. She shook her hand and introduced herself "Hi," she said, in a very friendly tone, "I'm Marlie Geissman, Dr. Williams' assistant". The woman's name was Lisa.
Lisa looked too old to be the girl's mother, but too young to be their grandmother, so Marlie asked. "Are you their mother?"
The girls giggled, which is what pre-teen girls do best. "I'm their teacher, actually" Lisa explained that they are both cognitively impaired and come from a very poor family and how desperately they needed glasses. Marlie knew exactly how desperately they needed glasses. She had handwritten the prescriptions herself. All Leah did was sign her name. Marlie explained what the prescriptions meant and where they could get them at discounted prices; she told Lisa about programs designed to help needy children.
The show of compassion by this teacher was no surprise to Marlie. She saw these types of things relatively frequently. Still, it was strange how she would run into this situation twice in one day. Marlie did not believe in happenstance. Everything happened for a reason. She felt it was her responsibility to find out the reason for everything. It may have been the naivety of her youth, but she believed she could figure out the reasons for everything that had happened to her as well as those who surrounded her.
The next few hours Marlie did her job well as she always did. She didn't even have to think about it. Running around and running the office in heels and a $200 suit, she glowed. All her patients loved her and all the technicians admired or were jealous of her. She was a hard person to hate professionally. Her professional persona was practically flawless.
At 1:58 in the afternoon Marlie brought her last patient of the morning to the front desk to pay for her exam and receive her prescription. Marlie smiled when she looked at the clock, thankful that she would get to lunch on time and be able to be away from the office for an entire hour. She needed a break.