17 Jul Chapter 39: Chat
The next day I’m summoned for another checkup. Binauld just wants to talk this time—maybe he feels like he’s taking advantage of me and wants to slow down? Whatever the reason I’m not going to push him.
He’s moved both chairs away from the wall so we can sit and face each other. I’m chowing down on a piece of bread while I listen to him talk about his medical training.
“Well, they didn’t teach us about that at all. No preventative care or quality of life instruction that I can remember. I think they expected the young men we’d be working on day in and day out to not last long, so just fix that leg and sew up that bullet wound, that’s all we need thank you very much.
“I did well with book learning and tests but I was in the lower end of the class for anything hands-on. I get rather squeamish at the sight of blood—I know, a medic who doesn’t like to see blood! How pathetic is that.”
I finish my last chunk of bread. “Binauld, have you ever considered living somewhere else? On a different planet, for example?”
“Oh, I don’t think I could, I’d be so out of place somewhere else. I wouldn’t be able to handle the adjustment, it would all be too much.”
“I don’t know, I think you’d do fine. Especially since you have a thing for intersex people—in fact, you’d probably do great.”
He puts his hand on his mouth. “I’m sorry—is that what you call yourself, intersex? I called you a hermi before. That’s our term for it, but that’s probably so insulting to you, I should never have said it…” He looks genuinely ashamed.
“Not at all, didn’t bother me a bit.” I eat some of the crumbs left at the bottom of the bread wrapping. “I’m just saying you should consider leaving here.”
“Oh, I don’t think I could, you see we’re not allowed. We can’t even send messages off-world without permission.”
“Really? All the more reason you should get out.”
We keep talking for what seems like longer than our usual sessions. Binauld is acting a little strange too; he keeps looking toward the door and coming up with new things to talk about when the conversation dies.
“Binauld, is everything alright? You seem bothered about something.”
He fidgets with his trouser leg. “I, well, I didn’t want you to worry for no reason. It’s nothing really.”
“I’d like to know.”
He looks at the door again. “The supreme commander is here today, Trenauk. If you’re in my office he won’t bother you. I didn’t want you to worry about it unnecessarily.”
I lean over and give Binauld a kiss. His cheeks turn red and suddenly he’s at a loss for words, but it isn’t long before he’s chatting away again.