The Farm by Joanne Ramos Read Online (FREE)
Originally published: May 7, 2019
Author: Joanne Ramos
Genre: Domestic Fiction
Read The Farm by Joanne Ramos full novel online free here.
THE EMERGENCY ROOM IS AN assault. There are too many people, and the din of their voices is too loud. Jane is sweating—it is hot outside, and the walk from the subway was long. She stands at the entrance, immobilized by the noise and the lights and the multitude. Her hand instinctively moves to cover Amalia, who still sleeps on her chest.
Ate is here somewhere. Jane ventures into the waiting area. She sees a figure that resembles her cousin. She is dressed in white—Ate will be wearing her nursing uniform—but the woman is Americana, and too young. Jane scans the seated crowd and begins to search for Ate row by row, feeling a growing apprehension, though she tries to stifle it. Ate always says Jane worries too much and too soon, before she knows anything is even wrong. And her cousin is hardy. She did not even get sick from the stomach virus that swept through the entire dormitory over the summer. It was Ate who took the lead in nursing her dorm-mates back to health—bringing ginger tea to their bunks, washing their soiled clothes—even though many of them were half her age and most much younger.
Jane sees the back of another woman’s head: dark hair threaded with silver. Jane makes her way toward her, hopeful but not entirely convinced, because the head is angled in the way of someone sleeping, and Ate would never sleep here, under these bright lights and around all these strangers.
Jane is right. It is not Ate but a woman who looks Mexican. She is short like Jane’s cousin, sleeping with her legs splayed and mouth open. As if she is in the privacy of her own home, Jane can imagine Ate saying with distaste.
“I am looking for Evelyn Arroyo,” Jane says to the harried-looking woman behind the registration desk. “I am her cousin.”
The woman glances up from her computer with an impatient expression that softens into a smile when she sees Amalia in the baby carrier on Jane’s chest. “How old?”
“She is four weeks,” Jane answers, pride blooming in her heart.
“She’s a cutie,” the woman says just before a man with a shiny, bald head cuts in front of Jane and begins to yell that his wife has been waiting for hours and what the hell is going on?
The woman behind the desk tells Jane to go to Triage. Jane does not know where this is but does not ask, because the woman is busy with the angry man. Jane walks down a hallway lined with cots. She checks each bed for Ate, embarrassed when the man or woman lying there is not asleep but looks her directly in the eyes. One old man begins to speak to her in Spanish as if beseeching her for help, and Jane apologizes that she is not a nurse before hurrying away.