by Gabriel Urbina


George observes Beatriz while she sleeps, and he is writing his thoughts about her, in his diary.

Beatriz is truly amazing. You would figure that someone who served for two years as an Army nurse in Vietnam, during a bloody war, would look for something easier to do, once she was back into civilian life. Not my lieutenant Bea; after all these years, she still works in the intensive care unit of a San Francisco hospital.

I do not believe in heroes or idols, so I will not say she is my heroine, or that I idolize her. All I can tell you is that I admire Beatriz; I admire her work, and her incredible inner strength. If I know what love is, then she is the love of my life. If I don't, then all I can say is that I want to be with this woman all the time. I'm not just talking about sex; I'm talking simply about being with her, regardless of what we are doing together or separately. I just love to be in the same room, in the same space with her.

She is American as they come; never mind that she was born in Cuba, and that her parents were of Japanese ancestry. She is very strong, but you wouldn't know it if you just saw her. She is five-two, very slim, and very gentle. If you saw her in action as a nurse in an emergency situation, you would immediately know she is a very strong woman. Keep in mind, she has been doing this for decades. I believe she is a true patriot, as I see patriots now. She makes people better. She makes everything better.

I met Beatriz in Vietnam. She was my nurse. By the way, my name is George, and I work the four-to-midnight shift at the headquarters of a big bank. This suits me fine, because this way I work the same hours as Bea. Processing checks and credit card charges is what I do for a living, but writing is what I do while i am living. For me, writing is a necessity, because I cannot talk. You see, I took a couple of hits, one of them on my throat, which caused irreparable damage to my vocal chords. I was a bloody mess, but thanks to that someone who was a poor shot, I met Beatriz, and we have been together ever since, except for the time I was stateside, in rehabilitation, and she was still in Vietnam. During this time we wrote to each other frequently. Once we were reunited in San Francisco, we both learned sign language; and we often leave notes in Spanish and English.

When it is time to rest, invariably she falls asleep before I do. Many times I sit near her, and I watch her sleep. She is absolutely gorgeous with her freckles and her peaceful look. I write a little bit, and I watch her some more. I don't know what she saw in me, but there is no need to question it. I know I am a very lucky man. That's all I know. That's all I need to know.

Tonight has been a productive night; I have written quite a bit. It is almost dawn. I like this time of the day because dawns are so full of hope. Rain, shine or fog, the hope of a new dawn is always there. That's all I need, a twenty-four-hour supply of hope. And you know, it's funny, now that I think about it, Beatriz's middle name is Aurora, which is Spanish for Dawn. As long as I have a new dawn and I have Beatriz by my side, I know that everything is going to be all right.

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