Saturday, 26 November 2011

Another way to say goodbye

Every week, at least twice a week, nurses are leaving the ship in large numbers.  Now that surgeries are finished and the hospital is closing down, we aren't the ones who are crucially needed anymore.  And so as the goodbyes get harder and harder, we also try harder to make the last days together memorable.  One of the many I really don't want to say goodbye to is Merry.  The night before she left I was trying to track her down, hoping to spend some time with her. 
Completely lacking manners (or just comfortable with my welcome, you be the judge), I went to her room and opened the door without knocking.  There stood Merry, Alyssa and Noel, busy writing... something... on papers on the wall. Suddenly Noel and Alyssa are standing facing me, blocking my view and looking very guilty, shooing me out of the room.  So I left.
I didn't even get as far as the door to my room when Noel is back in the hall waving me into their room "quick, get in!!!"  They had decided I could be on their team.  There they were, happily writing the same message over and over on little post-it notes.  "Meet on the dock at 2200"  with the person's name at the top.  Once the "guest list" had been decided, notes went up on many doors, and hopes were high that people would be trusting enough to show up without knowing who was doing the inviting or what it was about.  I was told to meet the guilty party up in the crew mess at an earlier time in order to help fill balloons. 
We filled 5 buckets of balloons, and then had to figure out how to get them outside without being noticed.  Like a spy film gone wrong, 5 giggling girls all holding buckets of balloons followed one guy who was our look-out down two flights of stairs and through a few hallways.  We burst onto the gangway, slightly worrying the guards by our behaviour.  So Noel gave one of them a waterballoon too.  We proceeded down the gangway and to a square of the dock where we could set up waterballoon stations that wouldn't be easily noticed.  Then we grabbed a bunch of chairs and started setting them up in a circle. 
Half an hour later, at the preset time, people started warily showing up.  We did our best to reasure them, Merry pretending she just wanted to hang out and look at the stars.  Finally, there were so many people that we had to add benches.  And deciding the mood was right, Merry launched into a lovely little speech about how much she appreciated everyone here, how she would never forget us, etc.  Someone joked about what a relief it was that that was all she wanted.  Another said something about how she thought they might be ambushed.  Which was the perfect opportunity for Merry to reach down and grab the water balloon from her purse and say, "you mean like this" and pop the balloon above the head of the girl beside her.
SPLOOSH!  And the fight was on!  Those that had been in on it scattered to find balloons and we just started throwing.  Within a few minutes we were out of balloons... I even handed out balloons to a few people, and got one dumped on me for being generous.  A couple of the team-leaders found canteens of water, I'm not sure where, and went after Merry with them, dowsing her well. 
In the end, everyone a little wet, we had to get a group shot.
Followed by a group shot showing "knee-vage"  a term that we've made up.  The dress code here includes not showing your knees, and so kneevage is the new cleavage. 
And finally, a giant group hug to end the night. 
I'm gonna miss these girls, every one of them.

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