Secret Revealed

I recently posted an article about the ANR community, and our need as so-called underground feeders to keep our “super nursing alter-identities” shielded in secrecy from the outside world reminded me of a situation that our acquaintances, a childless married couple named N and C, found themselves in once upon a time. I thought it would make a fun, entertaining, and fitting story.

N works in excavation and C is an RN. About six years ago, Mr. S and I met up with them at a party right around the time C had begun a new job on the Cardiology floor of a fairly big hospital. 

After a while, the four of us were approached by D, an older gentleman and mutual acquaintance. After several minutes of exchanging party chit-chat and other pleasantries, D turned to C and politely asked, “How is the nursing going?”
We all turned our attention to C, expecting her to talk about her role as a caregiver in the medical field, or maybe to discuss how hectic, but rewarding, her chosen profession was. But she didn’t. As a matter of fact, she looked really shocked. She glanced over at N. He was silent. We all waited expectantly for C’s response to the inquiry. Long minutes went by. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity had passed, C turned back to D and replied to his question by saying, “Oh, we don’t do that any more. We tried it for six weeks, but we really didn’t like it.”
Now, it was D’s turn to look shocked. His eyes grew wide, his mouth sort of fell open, and he actually blushed.
As for N? He turned practically purple from embarrassment and did his best to casually-not-so-casually stroll away from the group as S and I exchanged a private look that silently said, “Ahhh…so, they do it, too!”
When D was finally able to recover from C’s secret revelation, he said, “No, no, I meant your job. How is the nursing career going?”
And, do you know what C said? It was not prolific nor meaningful, but she handled a potentially uncomfortable situation with grace and dignity by standing her ground and replying, “Oh, that. It’s going great. I love it!”
I completely admired her for that!
Sometimes, when I think about C and that party, I wonder if she was actually relieved that her secret identity as a former nursing wife had been revealed. To be able to present yourself so openly, as if to say, “Okay, here I am. This is who I am!” must have been so freeing.
And maybe, after none of us recoiled in horror or spent the rest of the evening avoiding her, C understood that she had nothing to prove to anyone; she didn’t have to explain her feelings or support her case to show us that, although she had nursed her husband for six weeks of their marriage, she was “really a good person”.
If more people could be so open and honest, we could break a lot of societal barriers, couldn’t we?
The Loving Milk Maid’s original post appeared at on 4/7/16, and was revised for on 4/15/16.