Cindy walked in to the stations back door, and went straight to the ambulance. She usually got to work about 30 minuets before shift change. That day, she got there only a couple of minutes before 7am.
Her hair was down. That in itself was sort of unusual. Her hair was normally short, but long enough to be put in a ponytail and under a cap. That day, her hair was down partially covering her face. Odd I thought as I saw her at a distance.
One of the guys getting off duty came in from the ambulance bay and asked "What the hell happened to Cindy?"
We looked at him and asked what do you mean. "She's got a black eye. Looks like somebody popped her good."
Now, I have to admit that we really didn't know a lot about her personal life. I mean we knew about her, and where she lived, things she liked to do. But we really didn't know her personally. Like who was her boyfriend, what was he like. We didn't know if she was "in a relationship" or maybe just "dating". It's kind of hard to talk to a female, and have a female talk to you like we're all just guys if you know what I mean.
As a matter of fact, some of they guys in the station didn't really like to talk to her at all. Mostly the guys that had been around longer, but some of the newer ones too. They just didn't like a woman in the department. I wouldn't say they were rude to her, but...well they were almost rude. Nothing ugly, or demeaning, they just weren't.......friendly I guess.
There was some quick discussion about her, and then she walked in the day room. One of the guys that had been a bit on the not friendly side stopped her and asked "Is there anybody you want us to have a talk with?"
She looked at Mike with a question on her face. He said "Really, we're not going to put up with that with our people."
At that point the room was completely silent, all of the guys on our shift were there listening, as well as about half the guys getting off duty. I know Mike, and I knew that he was serious. I knew that he, and several of the other guys were ready to go that morning and 'have a talk' with whoever had hit Cindy. I also felt like this was a really important moment for Cindy. Inside the department she was subject to a lot of teasing and stress. But it had just been announced, by Mike, that she was one of us, and we wouldn't put up with anything from anybody outside our family.
Cindy looked around the room at us, and finally, my Captain asked quietly "What happened to your eye?"
She smiled and said "I'm on a softball team, I missed a ball and it hit me in the face."
Mike looked at her and said "You dumb ass." He turned and walked out of the station.
Things were back to normal.
She did confide in me later that she appreciated that we cared enough to ask about her eye, and that some had seemed to want to get back at whoever did it. She said that she worked a part time job in an office, and no one would ask her about it. She said in fact everyone seemed to avoid her so they wouldn't have to see the bruise. She said it made her feel good to know that we would ask.