Elsie is in her 2nd year of Christie’s Med School, living in an upper single on the women’s floor in the Fyfield house residence.
pen and ink line drawing with marker colour - cc by laurelrusswurm


The other girls on her floor are aware of, but don’t mind, the occasional visits of Elsie’s steady beau Eric.

Although you would never know it today, Elsie ‘s original plan was to be a nurse, like her mother before her. She is the only child of a nurse and an artist. When she was small she liked the bright colors her Da painted, but when she got older she couldn’t see the point, and secretly agreed with her mother that Da ought to give it up and get a real job. Elsie is very attuned to what you can see, hear and touch, and seemingly has been untouched by any kind of creativity. Still, her father has been building a following, and now that he’s exhibiting his paintings online they are starting to sell, but it may be too late; it has long been a bone of contention at home. Home is… awkward.

In Elsie’s first year she fell hard for a pre-med student named Val. He was handsome, and gentle; the man just dripped with bedside manner.

red glass hearts running down the side of the page

The romantic whirlwind caught her up in feelings she had never had before. She wasn’t a virgin, but Val gave her her first orgasm, and after that there was no going back. But the relationship swelled with fantasies that lifted it beyond the carnal into real life dreams. After graduation they would be able to start a practice together, or better, get a foreign posting to Africa, help in the war on aids, or maybe even doctors without borders.

He was everything she wanted, and it was clear she was it for him too. Until he threw in the towel and dropped out of school. She had no idea; didn’t see it coming. She couldn’t believe it. He would have been a brilliant doctor because he wasn’t just smart, he actually liked people. People would tell him everything.

They fought and fought and fought. Elsie stayed in res, but that was out of the question for a drop out, so he moved off campus, got a basement apartment. The term was nearly over, and although she had been at the top of her class, her marks plummeted, but she didn’t care. She had to make him see he needed to come back to school. He was always so smart, always got top marks, even Nick said so.

She alternated between fury and despair. He was throwing away their future. But he wouldn’t come back to school, he just worked at one menial job after another. Cheerfully. She accused him of doing it to strike back at his family. After all he’d never had much of a relationship with his own father the doctor. He muttered crap about the fact that he was doing it for himself. Absurd things, like he didn’t really want to be a doctor. How dumb is that?

Elsie couldn’t believe it; they were such a fairy tale couple, it was so perfect, it couldn’t just go to pieces like that. Val tried to tell her he didn’t have the right kind of mind for it, but she knew he was wrong, they’d studied together, done first rate work together. He was sharp, was Val. His crackling brilliance was what got her in his bed in the first place.

Val started pumping iron as Nick’s guest in the campus weight room, and Elsie limped though her finals. Realizing she would have done better had she been doing Val’s finals, she switched herself to pre-med.

red glass heart shattering

Elsie took a job in a pharmacy over the summer, and all summer long they fought and refought the same battle over and over again. When the fall term began, Elsie decided she’s be better off without him, and ended it permanently. Unless you talk to Val, of course. He thinks he’s the one who walked away.

Throughout the rest of her school career, Elsie decided to stay clear of anything as messy as a relationship. She found it was easy to find one night stands whenever it was necessary to reduce tension. This seemed to work well for a while, until the first time Elsie ran into Val in his new job as night manager in Campus Security. It hit her hard when he told her he was happily married, and later, in the privacy of her own room she cried herself to sleep knowing that any hope of reconciliation was forever lost.

Da Vinci's original journal with his famous drawing illustrating the text

She knows she’s attractive to men, and although keeping up with her mane of red hair tends to be cumbersome, she worries without it she would have a difficult time finding bedmates. The one night stands began to take their toll. It started being a lot of work to find fresh meat all the time. It would be easier on a monster sized campus like Waterloo or Toronto. She was thinking of giving celibacy a try, finding a gym maybe… except Val was in the campus gym much of the time. So in her second Med School year she found herself in Eric’s bed, downstairs on the men’s floor. A room mate. And he was very good, biddable and convenient, so she decided it might be an idea to have a limited relationship, as a stress reliever more than anything.

Elsie is happy to be alive in the transition period between paper books and digital. She lacks the patience to do anything more than she absolutely has to with computers, and does as much research and required reading as she can offline, so Elsie has no links to share. Her favorite book is Gray’s Anatomy, and she enjoys reading stories about the bad old days of medicine, one of her favorites being the one about the foolish Scot Dr. Robert Knox purchases of fresh body parts from supposed grave robbers Burke and Hare. Back in the days before med school, when she has spare time, she used to read up on ancient Egyptian and Chinese medicine.

Elsie likes classical art, and is a big fan of Leonardo da Vinci. She listens to Rachmaninoff and Mozart, and jazz, but doesn’t much care for rock music. The only way she dances is slow. When her budget allows, she collects tiny ivory erotic netsuke sculpture and jade jewelry, so she’s a regular at the antique store in town.

The most important thing in Elsie’s life is becoming a doctor; everything else comes last.

Image Credits:
Creative Commons License The sketch of Elsie and the heart images are by laurelrusswurm and licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Leonardo DaVinci‘s Vitruvian Man is well into the Public Domain, regardless of the fact that copyright thieves may lay claim to it online. This copy was found at The Art In Science: Who the heck is The Vitruvian Man?