I walk through the hallway, and M-who-helps-me is there. "I didn't look at your envelope," she tells me. "You would've known the minute you saw me if I did." They have the match envelopes.
Noon. Beginning at noon, we have announcements of sponsors paying for Match Day. And then "Mail's here!"
There were the obligatory jokes ("I didn't match, so M. got me a transitional year doing campus mail, it's going to be great.") and then they started calling names.
The first three names called were from my tiny sixteen-person class in Fort Wayne. Very odd. But one by one each of us are called, go up to the podium bearing a dollar bill ("Don't forget to put your dollar in the urinal!"), receive a bright red envelope, and then have to decide whether to announce it or not. So in between the names come announcements. ENT at Mayo Clinic. Surgery at Mass Gen. "I'm going to Chicago, baby!" Neurology at Rush University in Chicago. Family Practice, U of Carolinas. A lot of people staying here in Indianapolis. Family Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale. One high-profile girl opens her envelope. "Preliminary Surgery." Soft murmurs at the table - Preliminary Surgery means "I didn't match," but she had to read her envelope, everyone knows her; even I know she wants to be an orthopedic surgeon. Internal Medicine, Case Western.
S from my class is going to $residency. I would love to work with him. The names scroll by, still going. I am still at my seat. Last person called gets the urinal. People are called I know, most of them got what they wanted. Two more names are called, read, going to $residency. I mentally count down the available slots. My stomach is coiling within me, hands shaking. I was not nervous until the first name was called. Grandaddy Barth is here, our overseer at the center, giving out hugs to those who want to give them. His wife has terminal cancer, colon first, then lungs, now brain.
Door prizes: $100 to Simon Mall. $500 to Reese Nichols. $100 to IUPUI Bookstore ("A little late, but I'm sure your parents would like a mug."). 3 months at Total Fitness + $25 to Qdoba. $100 to H.H.Gregg. MP3 players for filling out the graduation questionnaire, and a laptop. So far, my name is missing.
Emory. University of Northern Colorado. A number of budding opthalmologists. Not for me. And this is all very interesting, but I am growing terrified. $100 to IUPUI Bookstore ("Again, we'd like to thank the bookstore"). Name. Announcement. Name. Announcement. Match Day messenger bags. Above me, on the balcony, someone is pushing a tank of liquid nitrogen. My hands are trembling. You matched. It's a refrain.
And they call my name. I walk up there, determined that I will read the announcement no matter what. Red envelope, fastened with tape. Tear it open, read its contents.
I'll be moving, but not to where I had most hoped. Instead, I'll be at a program that offers me the option of doing a primary care OB fellowship or getting an MPH in addition to my residency. It's better located for Angel, as far as schooling, and he's already making plans.
All things for the greater glory of God. There is a reason. This will work out.
And, ultimately, I am happy. My hands are not trembling. And that, O Best Beloved, is that.