Her name was Stephanie Johnson, and she was one of the most renowned brain surgeons on the East Coast. She was calm, collected, professional, and during her six years as a doctor she’d only ever had two patients die on her table. A new record. Sure, she worked some long hours, but she loved her job. She loved the feeling it gave her to feel like she could defeat sickness itself. It made her feel powerful. Invincible.
Sometimes she felt lonely. Not often, but occasionally. It wasn’t like she’d never had a boyfriend, but there just never seemed to be time to work on her relationships, and eventually the men started getting sick of never being prioritized. She had a lover though, who came over a couple of times a week and left before dawn, and she had her girlfriends. Doctors from the same hospital. Mature women, who liked meeting over a lunch or a cocktail.
Tonight, however, Stephanie had other plans. The same plans she had two or three times a week, and she knew that she could never deal with the stress of her job without this little habit of hers. She knew doctors had many different ways to deal with the stress. There kept coming scandals out about them. Doctors, who couldn’t get through the day without at least four drinks, or doctors who self-medicated. Her stress-reliever was a little bit different, and far more innocent.
Earlier that day she’d lied and said she had a headache, when she’d been invited to join some of her friends for a drink, and she’d used the same excuse when the chief of staff had asked her if she could take an evening shift. Which meant that she was currently walking towards the only ugly furniture in her modern, penthouse apartment, a fluffy, patched-up chair in a dark green. Letting the softness of the chair envelope her, she opened the box of chocolates next to her, poured herself a glass of chocolate milk and opened the book in her lap.
It wasn’t one of the romance stories many of her colleagues read. Those had always bored her. No, this particular story was about a daring pirate and her many great adventures as she robbed the seven seas dressed as a man. It wasn’t that Stephanie only ever read about pirates. She liked all kind of fantasy, science fiction, even magical realism. Anything there obviously had some element in the story, which simply didn’t happen in real life. This was her escape from her perfect life and as she delved into the story, Stephanie the Doctor ceased to exist and she became a pirate; even if it was just for tonight.
This was her fix, this was her way to be someone else, and she’d been anything from a space explorer to an assassin in the renaissance. What did shifts mean, when you were swinging a sword? What did bills mean when you were singing pirate songs with the rest of your crew?
This was her dirty little secret, which she logically new wasn’t very dirty at all. But still it was the one thing that was only hers, and therefore it was a secret she would guard from the closest of her friends.