The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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My mom went through the entire nursing program, managing to balance working full time, raising her family, and going to school. When the final exam came around, she failed the written portion by one and a half points, meaning she would have to go through the entire program again if she wanted to be a nurse.

    Doreen’s heart sank. This couldn’t be right. Not after all this. Her finger rubbed at the bright red seventy- one on the top of the paper, convinced she could dislodge something that would reveal her true grade.

    She couldn’t though. This was her true grade. She had failed.

The people around her were talking excitedly, sharing how well they had done with each other. Doreen scanned the crowd until she saw her. A vicious woman with cold blue eyes looked back at her smugly.

Doreen wove her way through the crowd, desperately holding back tears. The woman saw her coming and broadened her shoulders, holding her head higher and looking down her nose.

“Nancy?” Doreen said, voice sounding stronger than she had anticipated.


Doreen held up her paper. “Please,” she said. “Can there any way-”

“Oh, no dear, I’m afraid all grades are final.” Nancy projected her voice, drawing the attention of a few nearby women.

“It’s a point and a half.”

“I’m afraid I’m just not comfortable letting someone who failed move on. You would be interacting with patients, and I just can’t let that happen.”

“I already do though! I’ve worked with patients for ten years. You’ve seen me in practicals, I’ve proven I can do it, I just-”

Nancy smiled sickeningly, savoring the words, “There’s always next year.”

Nursing School

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