Path of Endurance chapter 11
Chapter 11: Health-checking Fury
After we left from The Strike that evening, this strange man tagged along me and Brianna all the way to our home. Brianna didn't like the man. He asked strange questions from her and kept her under a pressure. She clearly was bothered, but when I was just about to fall asleep in my bed, I heard Brianna calling out the man's name. Loud. She ran after him, outside into the night. He stopped to hear her out. I couldn't hear them, even though I went to the front door to listen. But I saw them shaking hands under a streetlight. It seems that whatever arguments they had, they were long gone. I ran back to bed before Brianna came back inside. She stayed up pretty long that night. I can't say how long, because I fell asleep before she did.
Next morning she woke me up pretty early. She was pretty; she had combed her hair and instead of wearing her old camo pants, army boots and a dirty t-shirt, she wore clean jeans, boots and a camisole. "Hey," she said softly. "Morning. Breakfast is ready."
Her lips shined. Did she wear make-up? I didn't know she even had any cosmetics.
She helped me up from my bed as usual, and I stumbled into the kitchen after her. She had already served me some cereals and orange juice. My favorite! Especially when it's served right under my nose. I ate in a record time, but I couldn't help noticing that Brianna was very nervous. She bit her lip every half a minute, and kept checking her watch. After I had finished my breakfast, she told me to dress up. She said we'd pay a visit to one place. She didn't tell me much about it, she just said some man would ask her some questions and that's it.
When we got to the place, I noted two things incorrect about what Brianna had said. First off, the place was some sort of a hospital. It was my first time in one, but I sure can recognize a hospital when I see one. Secondly, there weren't any men to ask her questions. It was a lady doctor. She spoke things with Brianna, and I swear Brianna was irritated by most of the questions she asked. The doctor got her height and weight (Wow, I didn't know Brianna was 165 cm tall and weighed 57kg. I mean, only that much. She was very big!), blood type, hemoglobin... then she just began interrogating.
"When did your menstruations begin?" the doctor asked.
"My what?" Brianna wondered.
"Your... menstruations? You know, the bad days of the month?"
Brianna shook her head, ignorant of what the doctor inquired.
"Are you saying you don't have any sort of bleeding in your genitals once in a month?"
"Why? Should there be?" Brianna asked with a slight blush.
For some reason, the doctor was worried. I didn't understand, shouldn't she be worried IF Sis had bleedings? Sis look bothered, too. But I think because she was wondering the same thing as I was. The doctor was worried BECAUSE she had no bleeding? As strange as it sounds, it is true.
"I would like to run some tests," the doctor said.
"Now hold on a minute," Brianna snapped. "It's my body you're talking about. If something's wrong I wanna know about it immediately, especially if it prevents me from my new occupation."
I was too busy studying my fingernails and fighting this overwhelming boredom, but I heard the doctor explaining something about bees and flowers to Brianna, who, was either very irritated or extremely uneasy. Either way, her cheeks were slightly red when the doctor had finished her sermon. "I take this is your first health check?" the doctor inquired.
"Actually, yes..." Brianna sighed. "Look, is this really necessary for the job? There's nothing wrong with my health."
"Miss Fury, you're nineteen. If you do not have periods, something is definitely wrong."
"Is not. I'll do just fine without them."
The doctor took off her glasses and sighed, rubbing her eyes. "It is my job to keep track on all the detectives' healths. You included. If you really want this job, you'll have to come to some further tests."
Now, it was Brianna's turn to sigh. "When?"
"At once, if it suits you."
Brianna nodded slowly. The doctor took her away for a while and gave me some ice cream. She said I could eat it as much as I wanted, but I was not very hungry. I felt bad without Sis. So there I sat, waiting for her to arrive. Suddenly, that Wulong-guy came in and ? after seeing me ? sat right next to me. "Hello, Bryan," he said.
"Hello, no-one," I replied. I didn't feel like talking. I wanted Sis.
"In some tests."
"Has she been there for long?"
Couldn't say. I couldn't tell time yet.
"Too long," I replied. Just then, I felt a warm tingling somewhere inside me. Among all the footsteps there were, I recognized Brianna's long, confident steps coming closer. I sprung up from the sofa I sat on and ran to her, screaming ?Sis!? like I hadn't seen her for ages. She greeted me warmly, tossing me up into the air and catching me softly but certainly. I knew I was always welcome near her. I would've climbed onto her shoulders again, but the doors were too low; I would've smashed my head through them before sitting comfortably. Still, I refused to climb down, neither, so Sis carried me back to the doctor's office to hear out her report. I toyed with Sis's medallion as the doc flipped through some pages.
"Do you happen to be a bodybuilder?" she suddenly asked Sis.
"No. How come?" Sis replied.
"Well, judging by your body type and fat percentage, I'd venture to say you'd be using steroids for quite some time, now. But, the tests proved me wrong; there were no extra testosterone or anabolic steroids in your body."
Sis seemed pretty miffed, and that was the understatement of the decade.
"You didn't need to test me to find out if I had pumped steroids," she spat. "People know pretty well that I'm not from the richest end of population. I can hardly feed myself and my brother and pay the bills at the same time! And we both know how much shit like steroids and hormones cost. With just a little thinking you could've saved half an hour that you wasted to your worthless tests."
"Calm down, please, miss Fury. There's no need for hostility, I'm only doing my job."
I bet Sis was about to say something, but she never did. She just sighed.
"Do you go to any sort of gym often?"
"But you do work out actively, correct?"
"At home. Cheapest hobby ever made up."
"How heavy dumbbells do you use?"
"I do not use dumbbells."
True. Every time Sis made push-ups, I sat on her back. And every time she made pull-ups, I hung around her waist. She didn't use dumbbells. Well, unless I'm a dumbbell.
"Let me see if I have gotten this correct..." the doctor sighed. "You work out actively at home without any weights, you do not use steroids or hormones, you're not a bodybuilder. Is this true?"
"Then, miss Fury, could you please explain this: The reason you do not have periods is that your fat percentage is below 10, all over your body ? that's dangerously low. You must have had it that low from the early puberty, since you claim you haven't had periods ever. Can you tell me how this is possible?"
This was one of the few times I actually saw Sis get confused. She was quiet. Very quiet. For ages.
?No, I can't tell you.?
"And why is that?"
"I can't tell you what I don't know."
The doc was about to fail Sis's tests, but Wulong got her to decide otherwise. So, Sis passed ? and began her work as an Interpol detective.
As Brianna began working longer hours, I usually spent my days with my friends. You remember them, don't you? Daniel, Jonathan, John and Adam. Although not many used those names of them anymore. Daniel had become Delta. He had been learning to write his name, but he usually had spelled it "Delta", so it had become his nickname. Just like Jonathan had become Jozz, even though he had shortened his name himself. He had also began to call John "Lun" for some reason.
You wanna know what Adam is called? He's Edam! A Finnish friend of his family had accidentally written his name wrong into a postcard, and it had turned out that Edam was also a Finnish cheese brand.
I wasn't without a nickname, either. You see, we were playing car race again one day when we saw Delta's sister running away from their backyard, screaming in terror. "Snake! Snake!" she shrieked and rushed inside their house. Well, I try not to be foolhardy, as Brianna always stresses, but I was really interested. Could it be the same kind of snake Brianna has in her medallion? I had to go and take a look. It wasn't very hard to find the snake from their backyard rock. It was awesome! It was brown-grayish with black pattern on its back, and its eyes were light gray. Its twofold tongue licked the air rapidly. It was quick, but I was even quicker. I stared its eyes, as deep as I could see, almost if I tried to hypnotize it. Then, without any warning, I yanked it up from the rock, holding it from its neck. It was helpless in my hand; it wasn't able to bite me with its poisonous fangs, and it wasn't strong enough to squirm its way out of my grip. I went back to my friends and showed them the snake that turned out to be a pit viper. That's where I got my nickname ? Pit Viper, P-Viper or just Viper.
The next morning Brianna received further details about her tests. The doctor herself came to pay a visit. I was playing around with my toy soldiers and listened.
"Miss Fury, what do you remember of your parents?" the doctor asked.
"What of them?" Brianna spat. She never spoke of our parents; our mom had died when I was born, and we wished to forget Cary totally. But sometimes ? just sometimes ? Brianna woke up in the middle of the night, screaming in pain. She never told it to me, but I still remember when she argued with Cary. I was sick back then. "It was YOU who broke a beer bottle into my head, asshole!" Brianna had shrieked, shoving him backwards. "You left me dying onto the floor! You cold-blooded murderer! And now that you realized you're not man enough to kill me, you hired an assassin to deal with me and Bryan!"
There still was ? like the doc later on pointed out ? a piece of glass stuck inside Brianna's skull. It moved, from time to time, mainly when she moved around in her sleep. Brianna was pretty still sleeper; she hardly tossed and turned. But when she saw nightmares, she rolled around like a spinning top. The only nightmare Brianna had was the nightmare caused by Cary. And that's when the piece of glass could move around, sending a piercing pain through her head and making her scream.
"Did your mother use any kind of medication, drugs etc. when she was pregnant?" the doc asked.
"Couldn't say. Wasn't born back then. What of it?"
"Your physics show some signs of your mother being a drug addict. Your hormone-emitting glands don't function as they should, which would explain your extraordinary large muscles. You have a great hormone disorder."
"Hey, do I look like a dictionary? Speak English!"
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Do you find men... umm... sexually interesting?"
"What about women, then?"
"No. What has this got to do with my hormonal disorders?"
"Well... hormones determine pretty much our behaviors and characteristics. There's this male hormone called testosterone, and female hormone called estrogen. Estrogen controls female gender characteristics, whereas testosterone control male gender characteristics. Women tend to have more estrogen than testosterone, and vice versa. You, however, have about the same amount of both hormones. This lead into the decay of your inner genitals, such as your womb and ovary. I'm afraid you will never be able to have children."
"So?" Brianna inquired.
"You don't care?" the doc wondered, her jaw almost dropping onto the floor.
"Do you see it now yourself?" the doc cried. "You haven't got the slightest sexual interest in anything, you're not bothered by your decayed organs and you don't care if your body doesn't function right! I mean... how can anyone be so indifferent about her own well-being?"
"I'm alive, aren't I?"
That question took the doc aback.
"I'm not as stupid as you think I am," Brianna said, leaving the tone of her voice into slightly meaner state. "My task in this world is not to fill this country with more idiots by first screwing men and then giving birth and raising the brats alone because the sons of bitches haven't got the slightest interest in helping me out."
She took a quick glance at me. "My task is to look after Bryan," she said, subduing her anger. "And as long as he needs me by his side, I will be there, one hundred percent. It would be selfish of me to waste my time with men when I know I have someone who actually and honestly needs me."
An awkward silence.
"End of discussion," Brianna declared. "Now if you excuse me, I have duties to attend to."
I put my toy soldiers into their box and shoved the box back where I took it. Brianna took me to school and went to work. She really didn't seem bothered about what the doctor had told her. But I sure was. Was something really wrong with Sis? What did it mean that she couldn't have children, or that she had no sexual interest in anything? Was it a bad thing?
Too many questions. Luckily we took another car race with Delta and the fellows, so I had my mind in something else than Sis's health.
I hope Sis is fine.