Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Usual

“Any unusual feelings?”
What a question. Kristin looks away, then tries to meet the eyes of the doctor. The young doctor. Her first year not an intern. Thin-lipped, serious, pretty in a severe, dark-hair-lashed-back kind of way.
            Any unusual feelings? The question hovers in the room. “You mean my throat? I can hardly swallow.” She’s conscious of intentionally rasping her voice, trying to make her very speech sound ill and convincing. She knows the doctor will swab the throat, and her temperature has already been taken—normal. Blood pressure—fine.
            Why is she here?
            Sore throat. Three days a sore throat.
            “Any unusual feelings?”
            Despair. Does that count?
            Loneliness. Abandonment. Fear. Are those unusual feelings?
            It’s been a week—or two—since he left. Doesn’t matter exactly when. Doesn’t matter how. Dead or drove away in the green Prius, green in every respect, that man. Lasik surgery to save using plastic in his eyeglasses. Can you imagine that? He actually said it.
            The doctor is waiting, poised at the computer, ready to record, yes or no. Any unusual feelings? She asks again. “Ma’am? Any unusual feelings?” Sore throat obviously doesn’t count. She’s already mentioned the throat.
            “No,” Kristin says finally, and with some relief because she knows her answer is true, absolutely true. “Just the usual.”
            “The usual?”
            “The usual feelings. That’s what I have.” Despair. Loneliness. Fear.

© 2014 Kathleen Coskran

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