Paola had to admit that Nando did get her to the nurse's office fast. Very fast. It was almost like he'd been here before. Paola had not, except for the initial orientation tour. She remembered only that it was in the Admin hallway, and beyond that she would have been lost.
Paola could tell when they stepped indoors; the air was warmer and their footsteps echoed instead of squishing. Nando said something in Spanish that she didn't understand but that she guessed was a warning about the bump on the floor in the doorway. She was very glad that Nando was the sort of person who could keep up a conversation by himself. She was not, even at her best. (And her best was definitely not blinded, covered in mud, and squeezing her eyes shut against the hallway lights.) She could just walk, focusing on her footsteps and on Nando's voice. It was almost soothing.
Paola knew at once when they reached the Infirmary. The air took on a familiar antiseptic edge, and Paola was struck with a wave of longing for home, for Aunt Sara and Aunt Tima and even Dad, screwy as he was. And suddenly she was weeping. Again, apparently.
So she missed most of Nando and Medic Rock greeting each other, except that Medic Rock sounded professionally unexasperated and unsurprised to see Nando.
And then Medic Rock was talking to her. "Come over here sweety, what's your name?"
"I'm Paola DeMarco," she answered after a few moments to get her sniffles under control. "And I can't see." Paola had turned towards Medic Rock's voice but hadn't moved a step. "I was out with my telescope, and then I heard him yelling, and all of the sudden there was a blinding flash of light."
Nando chimed in that it was, in fact, his fault, and he apologized again. And then made a bad joke. Medic Rock did something that Paola couldn't see, and Nando let go of her hand and shuffled away. "Uh yeah, nope. No bright side. I'll just uh stand over here and not touch anything," he said awkwardly, and Paola almost choked on an unexpected giggle.
Medic Rock meanwhile guided Paola to a seat and began asking her what she could see. When Paola mentioned that the hallway lights hurt, the infirmary lights immediately went down.
"I'm going to have to shine a light in your eyes really briefly, Paola," Medic Rock said. "Lumos rutilus," she murmured, and a soft red glow appeared at the end of her wand. She waved it briefly in front of Paola's eyes, and it cut briefly through the blue afterimages. Medic Rock extinguished the light and said, "Your eyes are going to be okay. I need to put my hands over your eyes to cast the spell that will fix them. Is that okay?"
"Yes," Paola said, closing her eyes again in preparation. Medic Rock's hands were warm and a little rough. Paola didn't quite hear ,,what she said, but there was suddenly the smell of mint. Her eyes and temples went cold for a moment, and the swirling afterimages disappeared.
"I think it worked!" Paola exclaimed excitedly.
"Good. I'll bring up the lights now." Paola opened her eyes to see--actually see!--Medic Rock smiling warmly at her. "Any pain, any spots on your vision, any other strange lights?"
"No, no, and no! Thank you so much, Medic Rock." Paola stood up and glanced at the table she'd been seated on. "Oh, and sorry about the mud."
"It'll clean. Have a good night now."
Paola, feeling more than a bit awkward and very relieved, turned toward the door and stopped. Nando was still standing in the corner, and she had no idea what to say to him. Thank you for helping me after blinding me? If you hadn't done that, I wouldn't have needed your help?