Doctor, on Pause
Vivian Cho turned around to look at Timothy on the sofa, with his right foot in a cast.
"Honey, I need to run some errands. There is sandwich in the fridge. Are you good? Do you need me to get anything for you before I go?"
"I am fine. Don't you worry about me. I can handle myself."
Vivian bent over, wrapped her arm around Timothy's shoulder, gave him a quick kiss.
"Okey. I should be back around 3:30, after picking up Etsu from school."
Timothy smiled while his wife headed for the door. He looked at his wrist watch, which read 11:45 am. Sally, his oldest daughter would not be home til 1pm.
He reached for the phone and dialed.
"Hi, Dr. Lothario. Has
“The electrocution victim whom I managed to stabilize and place on intensive care.”
“Oh. He died of kidney failure this morning”, came the curt reply.
“How about Mrs. Debateau? Has she given birth?"
"She will do when the baby is due. Look, Dr. Riley, this is the third time you called me at the hospital today. The hospital won’t fall apart without you. Now just relax and bugger OFF!!"
The last few words shot through the receiver and really stung. Timothy held the receiver in disbelief and retorted his coworker who was obviously no longer listening:
"Geez.. What is wrong with a doctor showing concerns for his patients. We will see who will become the CHIEF of staff first. Hmph."
Timothy shifted his weight this way and that on the sofa, laid down, and then sat straight up. He looked to the front door and willed for anybody to walk in. Finally, Timothy laid on his stomach and closed his eyes. TICK - TUCK - TICK - TUCK.
By the time Timothy opened his eyes again, what he saw first was a yellowed photo on the end table, of Sally as a toddler being held by Olivia, his late wife. Then doubts jumped at him like a cat pouncing on its unknowing victim.
How did I let Vivian convince me to become a doctor again?
Timothy turned the TV on, found no good programs, and then turned it off.
If I was a good doctor, then how could I not have been able to help Olivia?
Timothy tapped his fingers on the arm of the couch.
Maybe Dr. Lotharios had a point, I really should just bugger off.
Timothy threw a glance at the piano, extended his arm to grab the crutch. The crutch slid down to the floor. Timothy stared at his plastered foot in frustration.
What is the point? The patients look to you to heal their pain. You try as hard as you can, and when you fail, the accusations in the eyes of their loved ones can tear your heart into pieces.
Sunlight flooded the apartment through the open door. Timothy saw Sally as if he was seeing her for the first time, a beautiful young woman, even more beautiful than his late wife Olivia. He remembered the first time he saw Sally. He had helped Olivia deliver Sally himself. Her first cry had flooded the hospital room, just as the sunlight flooded the apartment now.
When Sally raised her head, she was caught by surprise.
"Dad... Are you okey? Why are you crying? Does your foot hurt that much?"
With tears still in his eyes, Timothy broke into a smile, and wiped at his wetted eyes.
"Nah, sweetie. My foot is just fine. Dad is just being a crybaby about this broken foot, even though I know it will heal in due time."
Connor Weir could hear the phone ringing as he stepped into the house. He put down his suitcase at the usual place and raced towards the phone.
“Conner. This is Mary. The hospital called this morning. Geoff is gone. They said…. it was kidney failure.”
Connor put his left hand over his forehead and could not find the words to respond, and simply listened to the woman sob for as long as it would take.
“We will come to help pack my brother’s belongings. Does tomorrow afternoon work for you? I will also fill you in on the details of the funeral then.”
“Yes. It is. I will see you tomorrow then.”
Connor drooped down on the couch. His best friend should have come home with him this evening.
In fact, his best friend should be standing in the living room right now, holding his usual class of martini, talking nonsense.
‘Bro, you should really lighten up. Life is too short, you have got to enjoy it, man.. Have fun with all the beautiful women out there.’
Ya right, when you are around, all the women pine after you.
Connor walked over and sat down at the chess table. Playing chess had always calmed him, giving him the peace he needed to sort through his thoughts. His best friend should be sitting across from him, making idiotic comments about how when pursuing a woman, one should always hold back a little instead of showering her with attention, make her make the move first.
Ya right, if you are such a great strategist, when did you ever win a chess game against me.
Connor analyzed everything in the same way he analyzed the chess board in front of him. He knew what women, including their boss, dig in Geoff was his simple, innocent carefree-ness, or carelessness. Unlike Geoff, Connor cared too much, was too careful about the words he spoke, about the tie he wore, and about competition. Their boss had given the promotion to Geoff even though Connor was the more qualified candidate. Even then, Connor could not stay mad for too long, for Geoff always had a way of tickling his funny bones.
Connor’s hand held tight to his only remaining piece of knight for a long time, somehow, he had lost his train of thought about what move he was supposed to maneuver next.
Irritated, Connor wiped his arms across the chess table, knocking the many chess pieces flying and rolling all over the floor. Connor stood up, and hollered at the top of his lung.
“Damn you Geoff! With you gone, how am I supposed to show the world that I will beat you in your own game eventually?”
Then Connor took down his glasses, so he could wipe at his tears.