Ming was offered four medical school interviews, and
Fitzgerald none. She felt that this placed a protective
expiry date on their relationship, and wondered whether
they might hold hands sometimescouldnt this be
entirely platonic and also somewhat comforting? More
and more, she wanted to grasp his palms, his fingers. She
thought of him while studying, which scared her.
Fitzgerald posed unusual questions to professors during
lectures, which frequently provoked tangential answers.
Ming found herself rewinding her tapes to listen to him
ask these questions, and it bothered her that she wanted
to hear his voice.
Because of the way in which her interviews were
scheduled toward the end of March, Ming convinced
her parents that the obvious thing was for her to travel
to Toronto on Friday for her Saturday morning interview,
then spend the weekend there and go to
Hamilton for her Monday morning interview before
returning to Ottawa. She insisted that she needed to
travel without them in order to concentrate. Ming
hadnt asked Fitzgerald, nor had he made the suggestion,
but between them they had decided that he would
come to Toronto with her.
You can help me prep for my interview. Afterwards,
well have dinner together, said Ming. It was her
reward to herself, she decided, this extravagant pleasure
which was only possible in a city where she was a
You get to choose the restaurant.
We might as well stay in the same hotel room.
Because of the cost.
I specified two twin beds.
Needless to say, he added quickly.
After a pause she said, Not to imply that you would
He was her best friend and study partner, she reasoned,
and therefore it was normal that she would want
his company. Besides, it was her parents own fault that
they would not understand this, therefore she would
not tell them.
Next question, said Ming. It was one oclock. That
morning, they would travel to Toronto. They lay in
their respective beds, in their separate homes, talking
on the telephone. Ming was curled on her side in the
dark. Her muscles ached as if they had been stretched
beyond a natural length and then allowed to recoil into
tightly wound balls. She imagined Fitzgerald lying on
his back, the sheet of paper on his knees, the light from
the reading lamp yellow on the page. She knew the
paper he held, because she had given him this list of
interview questions from previous applicants Toronto
interviews. It had the pebbly look of a photocopy of a
copy of a copy. He read questions, which she answered
like lines in a play. Ming foresaw the aloneness of saying
goodnight, and wished that she could hold him.
Even so, she felt panic as if being attacked when, at
that moment, he said, Do you think that if things
were different, we could be lying together right now?
Fitzgerald, this is the worst possible time for you to
The hotel has two beds, and the only reason I agreed
to you coming is because were unemotional friends,
and youre supposed to help me with my interview. Not
get me all screwed up. She spoke as if the idea of
Fitzgerald coming to Toronto was entirely his doing.
But dont you wish we werent afraid of each other?
We need to go through all the questions once more.
Its better if you answer them spontaneously.
For you, thats the way. For me, I need to be prepared,
Its more honest if you just go for it.
You think they want honesty?
Theyll throw you questions that arent on this
The above excerpt is the complete text of the short story "How To Get Into Medical School, Part 1" , pages 1-30 of Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. Copyright (c) Dr. Vincent Lam, 2007. Reproduced with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
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