Fiction | March 02, 2021

The nurse and I had our faces covered by woolen scarves, gloved hands in our pockets, as we walked up the hill towards the RCMP station. I’d learned the hard way to cover up, after skin had begun to peel off my cheeks and forehead, even a thick layer of foundation not hiding the damage.

          I’d arrived on Baffin Island only two weeks prior, but the short November days were already getting to me. I often ran out of the clinic around noon for ten-minute breaks and stood bare faced towards the low-rising sun, watching the rainbow colours just below the surface of the still waters of the bay. The arctic wind slashed my cheeks at -40 ̊C until they turned pink. Soon they blistered, my skin peeling and pus staining my pillow.

          “Sorry to have called you so late,” the nurse, Carolyn, said.

          “It’s good that you called,” I said.

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