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Goldie Kohli Goldie Kohli
Recommendations: 4

The Doctor


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She had a friend.

The doctor’s room was not too large but it was sparse with just his table three chairs and a few customary certificates, saying he was a specialist of some sort, on the wall that informed his clients of the years he had spent in university. My doctor had asked me to see him as this guy had done more study than him.


He looked young despite his long education and experience. I was surprised he did not even need glasses to read the reports he was going through.


“The good thing is that there is nothing in your reports that explains your breathing difficulty, we have done blood tests, x-rays, scans of the brain, scans of various parts of the body and they show a very healthy person” he said.


I was shocked. “But I am still unable to breathe regularly. Every few minutes I take a breath in but cannot exhale. The next one is okay and every few minutes it hits me again. I do not blackout but I feel suffocated for a few seconds. Also I am unable to remember the details of certain incidents with him. I know the incident happened but when I go over it there are no contents to that incident. It is almost like an empty book with only the covers”


“Tell me about the forgetting of details” he appeared concerned.


I was feeling relaxed as he exuded a calmness and appeared to be genuinely interested in what I was feeling. I always wondered about professionals like him who had seen and heard everything there was in their ‘business’ and that is why half of their consultations they spent looking elsewhere, drifting into the last movie they had watched or their planned trip overseas.


“Well I have a great memory and do not need to keep notes. In fact my friends are surprised I can remember their birthdays, wedding anniversaries and even their spouse’s birthdays without an aid. I could remember vivid details of conversations, even what clothes people wore during those conversations” I spoke with conviction.
The doctor got up and got himself a glass of water. It was bright and sunny outside with cotton clouds that had no shapes that I could give names to. He was drinking the water and unlike most of us, who lightly place the edge of the glass on our lips, the edges of the glass were cutting into the edges of his lips. He sat down and looked at me as a cue to continue.


I went on “These are events related to him that I cannot find details of in my memory. I know, for instance, he saw me off at the airport on a particular date but I do not remember anything within that event. I do not remember whether he drove there alone or we travelled together. Did we have a conversation? Did we share a coffee? I don’t know all this. I am sure he was there to see me off but no other detail is available”


The doctor was staring at my face and had both his hands on his desk “I have come across this affliction only twice this year. What triggered this off?”


“Well I explained to you the last time I was here but maybe you need me to give the details again”, I said politely. I did not want him to withdraw as he was the only one who listened to me.


He nodded his head and picked up a sharp pencil and picked at his finger nails.


“I normally keep all my electronic equipment like laptops, mobile phone, tablets off as I cannot sleep even with a small flickering light. I draw the thick curtains shut and there has to be utter darkness in the room. That’s why I have always been an early riser, the slightest amount of light in my room and I can’t sleep”. I looked at him. He was engrossed in his nails.


He looked up and raised his eyebrows and said “Yes, I am aware of that but please tell me what happened.”


“So here I am sleeping with my mobile phone off next to me and must be a few minutes after I had fallen into a deep sleep when the phone vibrated and lit up. I woke up and saw the light and cursed myself as I thought I had left the phone on.
“I picked the phone and saw a text message ‘I won’t be returning after this. Don’t try to contact me through other friends either’. After this the phone went dead. I got up and washed my face as my eyes were trying to close despite my attempts to open them.


“I could not believe the message. After so many years he just walked out. We had been through a lot, a lot of pain, a lot of fun, a lot of togetherness; we bought our first house together. I can only remember these events but no detail of them…”
“Yes I know that”, the doctor continued “But tell me what happened after you washed your face.”


I looked at his face and he was still calm and almost had a smile trying to escape out the corner of his lips. He was not being sarcastic but it was a sympathetic smile. I trusted it.


“I washed my face and activated the phone. The message was still there and not my imagination. In fact I still have the message in my phone. I stared at the message and that is when I was unable to exhale. The breath had gone in and disappeared. As if it had dived into my lungs and through a hole in them just made good its escape. I inhaled and then exhaled. All good but it happened a few times that night and has continued ever since, now about two years”. I was sweating as the memory of that night came back.


“And when did you start forgetting details of past events” he asked.
“It had started happening a few weeks before he left. I did not tell him this fearing he might think I was losing interest but that was not the truth. I still loved him. We would be talking and he would mention something that we had done together. I noticed I could not fill in the details. I would distract him I know but can’t remember how. He did not suspect anything is what I remember”


He had gone back to manicuring his other fingers with the pencil and looked at his telephone as if he was waiting for a call.


“Another thing is that I can remember the clothes he wore even though I might have forgotten what happened during the event” I continued.


The doctor got up and said “Excuse me” and left the room.


I looked around and saw flyers from medical companies, a writing pad with much scribbling on it and a phone, sat on the table.


The phone was a vintage model with a dial pad on its face. I played with the dial and loved the clicking sound it made when returning to its position.


The flip date calendar was opened to the 4th of the month a Friday.


He had been gone for fifteen minutes I saw on the wall clock. I was getting restless and got up and went to open the door.


The doctor’s phone rang and startled me. I was tempted to pick it up in case he was called for an emergency as there was no staff in his front office and he seemed to be nowhere close by.


I picked the phone and said “Hello”


The man on the other end said “The security alarm has been going off. What is the security code?”


I answered “I don’t know I am only a patient as the doctor has stepped outside”
The man appeared to sound impatient “You shouldn’t be in there at this time; the doctor does not work weekends. Stay there and I will send someone” and he hung up.
My breathing became erratic. I could not exhale every three or four breaths. The room was getting dark.


Was that a police siren in the distance?


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