When his girlfriend kicked him out, Arthur was forced to live at the hospital where he worked. He tried not to be obvious, but a fellow surgeon, Susan, discovered the truth. Then she made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Although Arthur grew up as an orphan in Boston, Massachusetts, he won a scholarship to Harvard Medical School and became a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital after graduation. At the age of 30, he lived with his girlfriend, Jenna. They had been together for five years, and living together seemed like the best option.
But work was hectic. Being a resident is nothing like you see on shows like Grey’s Anatomy. It’s grueling, and you have to study constantly. Sometimes, Arthur didn’t have time to go home and stayed at on-call rooms, which angered Jenna to no end. However, Arthur soon learned that Jenna wasn’t furious about his absence.
“We have been together for years, Arthur. We are both in our 30s. When are we going to get married?” she asked him on his day off.
“Jenna, isn’t this coming out of the blue?”
“Of course not! It’s what most couples talk about often when they’ve been together for a while,” Jenna snapped.
“Well, I don’t know. Now is not the best time. I still have my fellowship to think about… maybe, we could wait a few more years,” Arthur hesitated.
“That’s not fair, Arthur. You are successful already, and people don’t stop their lives completely because of a career. I need to know that you’re not wasting my time. Have you thought about marrying me at all?” Jenna asked, more sad than angry now.
“I… I haven’t. I’m not ready for that,” he replied. Jenna started sobbing, and when he tried to comfort her, she pushed him away.
“Fine. My name is on the lease. You need to leave immediately. We’re over. I need to find someone who wants the same things as me. I can’t believe five years just went by for nothing!” Jenna growled as she got his bag and started packing his things. “Goodbye, Arthur!”
Arthur took his things and sat in his car in the parking lot. He wasn’t sad about this breakup with Jenna. A therapist would probably say that he never learned how to form familial attachments because he lived as an orphan his entire life. But that didn’t matter much to him. His problem then was he didn’t have anywhere to go.
Despite his success as a doctor, he didn’t have any savings yet. Residents didn’t get paid as much as most people imagine. Moreover, Arthur lived too much in the moment, spending every penny he earned on his whims. So the only place he could afford go to now was the hospital.
This is only temporary. I’ll have to save up for a new apartment, he thought while settling into an on-call room. But temporary became permanent.
After a few months, Arthur still didn’t have that much saved up. He used to share expenses with Jenna, but rent prices had increased that year. Nothing seemed reasonable. In addition, living at the hospital wasn’t so bad. He had all kinds of amenities and got plenty of sleep. But the chief resident, Dr. Goldberg, almost caught him a few times.
Since then, Arthur always said goodbye and hid in his car until Dr. Goldberg left at the end of the day. It worked most of the time unless the chief had a late surgery. Those days, he moved his car and parked far away from Dr. Goldberg’s SUV. However, one of his colleagues proved that Arthur was not as sneaky as he thought.
He was watching Netflix on his phone one day, waiting to go back inside after Dr. Goldberg’s shift, when Susan knocked on his window. “Susan, you scared me! What are you doing here?” Arthur asked, startled.
“The real question here is what are YOU doing here, Arthur?” Susan inquired sarcastically instead of answering him.
“I’m watching Netflix on my phone. Is that a problem?” Arthur said defensively.
“Aha. And why don’t you watch at home?” she quipped back.
“Because… ugh… this show just…” he stuttered.
“Stop, Arthur. Come on. I’m here because I know what you’re doing. I’ve suspected it for months, as you dodged Dr. Goldberg several times. You told him last week that you left your stethoscope in your cubby. Well, duh. We all leave it in our cubbies,” Susan stated. “So now I’ve concluded that you’ve been living here permanently.”
Arthur sighed. He and Susan had a rivalry since they both got accepted as residents in the hospital. They were both top-of-their-class at different colleges and wanted to become the best surgeons on staff. They often fought over patients but not maliciously. However, they never had anything to do with each other outside work.
“Ok, fine. You caught me. So what?” Arthur retorted.
Susan raised her hands. “Hey, calm down. I’m not going to tell Dr. Goldberg about this. But I have to say that if I noticed your weird attitude, others might suspect you too,” she conveyed. “Anyway, that’s not what I came here to say. I want to offer you something.”
“My roommate got a job in New York. She left a week ago, and I just realized that I would spend my entire monthly check on rent. Do you want to be my roommate?” she wondered curiously.
Arthur was floored. This was the first time they had interacted about anything besides medicine. Having a girl roommate never crossed his mind, but it could work. “Are you sure? What’s the catch?” Arthur queried suspiciously.
“There’s no catch, except for one thing. I don’t like driving. So you don’t have to pay for wi-fi if you agree to carpool every day to work. Do we have a deal?”
Arthur thought about it for only a second. He didn’t want to keep sneaking around or lose face if anyone else discovered the truth. “Deal.”
He moved into Susan’s place the following day and realized she wasn’t so bad. Their minor rivalry ended, and they became real friends. They started dating after becoming fellows at the hospital.
What can we learn from this story?
- Always save money for a rainy day. You never know what can happen tomorrow, so it’s best to have a nest egg in case of emergencies.
- Your rival might become your best friend or more. Arthur and Susan were rivals at work, but they eventually became close.
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