Sepia: Part II

Reality

I e-mailed David the first few pages of what I had written. As he was the instigator of this exercise, I thought he should see it. I wanted to know what he thought. I didn’t think he would read it straight away and was surprised to see an e-mail ping back in fifteen minutes.

‘Good effort. Too much exposition at the beginning and all that faff about rain glittering on windows. Could do with some editing ... but carry on, like what you have done here. Love to read more. It’s not going to win the Booker Price – yet ;-)’

I smiled. That was so David. No nonsense but just on the right side of encouragement. He knows me too well. If he had raved about it I would’ve dismissed his compliments as useless hyperbole. If he had said it was terrible I probably would’ve stopped writing.

Writing it as it happened is hard. I realise I am writing this as it happened to me. David says it’s called a POV – a point of view. This is my POV. My reality.There will be others who are involved in this whose story may differ, whose reality will be different. Could there be a reality without an observer? Like that old adage: does the tree falling in a forest make a noise if there is no one to hear it? For a noise isn’t a noise unless there is a pair of ears to listen.

Sorry, I digress. Years of reading indiscriminately has my neurons firing in many directions.Thinking about the concept of reality always makes my mind ache.

Source

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

For years my reality has been simple. I wake up, go for a run, come back and have a shower. I read the latest in neurological research online or catch up with a journal over my morning coffee and toast. I get dressed in my usual trouser suit, tie my hair up in a bun (David says it makes my face look severe and I should let it down and wear some make up. He fancies himself as a bit of a fashion guru, among other things) I get in my Honda CRV ( I like the extra height it offers when driving so I don’t feel the other cars looming over me) and get to King Henry’s Hospital.

The neurology department is set at the back, among the foliage. I like the trees that surround the building, offering shadows and make the concrete more palatable. I park my car in my designated spot and walk through the reception area where Janet always smiles and shouts out a ‘Good Morning Dr Miller’ I have told her she can call me Susan, but she insists on keeping it formal. She says I have studied hard and worked long enough to earn the accolade and it must be uttered at every opportunity to make it worth!


The rounds usually start at 8:30 and my two Registrars and assorted Foundation trainees wait for my arrival. I like the ward rounds, as it helps me catch up with my patients and their progress. It also helps me quiz my trainees to see whether they have the initiative to read or whether they arrive like an empty slate , waiting for me to scratch bits of knowledge onto them. I have no time for the latter. David calls me ‘ La belle dame sans merci’ when it comes to the teaching rounds.

They have a nickname for me among the students - ‘Susie Shotgun’. It's supposedly because I shoot down the incompetent and the indolent. I make no apologies for that one. David says I am secretly proud of that nickname. He’s right. But I am to going to admit that to him. He gloats when he is right.

Unexpected

The morning all my carefully built defences came crumbling down was no different from many others. The overcast sky was threatening more rain for the summer starved citizens. The roads were relatively free as schools were off for summer holidays. I drove in listening to Annie Lennox as she always seems to know how I feel.

I parked my car, secretly looking at David’s spot to see if he was already in. I know I shouldn’t but it always gives me a warm feeling to know he is already there, armed with his wisecracks and flirtatious remarks. I pull a face at him when he is on full flow, while deep in me there is a warm glow like a winter wood fire. I smiled when I saw his sporty Jaguar preening in its space, much like him.

I walked past Janet, nodding and smiling to her G’morning and was about to enter my office when she stopped me with a wave.

“Dr Miller, can I have a word?”

“Yes, Janet?”

She hesitated, chewing her lower lip. She does that when she is unsure about something.

“It’s just that... I know you don’t like to disturb your routine, but there is someone here to see you.”

I must have frowned as she chewed her lip again and worried the strand of hair that fell over her left eye.

“Was it scheduled?”

“No. I didn’t know what to do, I had a message from Director that there was someone who needs to see you asap and he asked me to put them in your office. I did try to say you like to start your rounds promptly. But...”

I was annoyed. But I knew it wasn’t Janet’s fault if the Director had insisted.

“Do we know who this is?”

“It’s a Mrs Johnson. She said it was personal and prefers to tell you directly. She is in your office. Would you like your usual coffee - I have already offered her a drink?”

I smiled through my barely disguised annoyance. “Yes please.”

I hate surprises. I wondered what this could be about. I rarely take consultations at this time as my usual OPD schedule is the afternoon after theatre.

I pushed opened the glass door that had my name on it.-Dr Susan Miller MD FRCS (Neuro)- and went in.

Source

A Daughter's request

She was standing with her back to me, looking at my bookshelf. She had a summer dress on, a bright purple and orange number that fitted her well. There was a scarf carelessly throw around her shoulders and her hair was short. She had sunglasses perched on her head, rather optimistically for an overcast day. I thought it was more an accessory than a requirement of the day.

She turned around, smiled and put her hand out for me to shake.

“Dr Miller?”

“Yes..” I gripped her hand, they were soft and well manicured. I noticed she had purple nailvarnish on with little orange flowers on them. My surgeons hands looked positively unglamorous holding hers.

“I am Julie, Julie Johnson. I am really sorry to barge in like this. I desperately wanted to speak to you and my husband knows the Director who said you wouldn’t mind...”

“Please take a seat. Would you like a coffee or anything”

“Your secretary already offered. Thanks. I don’t want to take much of your time. I just came here to make a request. It’s about my Dad.”

I hung my Jacket on the hook, my mind still grasping at what this could be about. I went around the desk and sat directly across her.

“Your Dad? Is he a patient of mine?”

“No. Atleast not yet. He is still in Manchester, under Hope hospital. I work down here in London and I have heard some good things about your work. I would like you to see him, please.”


“I am sorry to hear that. I will be more than happy to schedule an appointment. Can I take his name?”

She leaned forward and smiled. “Oh. I am ever so grateful. His name is Robert Miller. Same surname as yours, funnily enough.”

My pen slipped on the blotter and drew a long illegible trail. That was my Dad’s name.

I looked up, as if searching her face for clues. It can’t be.

“His date of birth is 26th of August 1944”

I felt dizzy. I couldn’t see what I was writing. It was my Dad’s birthday. The Dad who walked away thirty years ago never to come back.

It can’t be. It really can’t.

My brain was repeating that it was a complete and utter coincidence but my heart wasn't listening.

To be continued ....

© 2012 Mohan Kumar

More by this Author


Comments 57 comments

tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Intriguing, I'm sooo... loving it.

Please sir can we have some more?


eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Docmo, I just want to know...will there be more!! I am loving it, rock on!


Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Docmo, I am with the others and want to know when there will be more and cannot wait. Very good job on this series so far and really do look forward to the next installment. Have of course voted up and shared too!!


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

You are a master storyteller; hanging by a thread in anticipation of the next installment.


Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is a wonderful story, please continue rapidly.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Mohan - I knew you would not disappoint with Chapter 2 of this epic and you did not. My expectations have been met.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Fantastic story...Part II is as good as the first...with a little more....leaving us eager for Part III......who knows what can be coming??


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Great story Docmo!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

Although I LOVE surprises, of course only good ones, not including unexpected guest, I identify with Susan. I, too, "shoot down the incompetent and the indolent". However discreetly.... I think.... hope... Lol!

Docmo, I really like this. Your ending arouses curiosity and in fact eagerness to read on. I also like the unpredictability you've managed to create - ... There's no way one can guess what's going to happen... you've created many possibilities.

Voted up, awesome and very promising...


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I have to go back and read Part I which I missed. Will look forward to Part III.

So far, so good......


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, this is getting interesting! how would anybody feel hearing that from a complete stranger? the dad? wow! notice I am not giving the story away! lol! can't wait to see where this is going!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

OK, I guess a book wouldn't have Annie Lennox popping out and singing her rocking vocals... so I will stick with this online page turning, Mohan...

Coincidence...hmmmm...in any event, let's get cracking, we are waiting impatiently now...(LOL)!! I'm hooked... UP & UABI. Hugs, Maria


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I was so pulled in through your writing here. I can't wait to read more! I see a TV series on this. . . good job!


ChitrangadaSharan profile image

ChitrangadaSharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

Great hub, quite involving. The previous one was equally engrossing.


Daisy Mariposa profile image

Daisy Mariposa 4 years ago from Orange County (Southern California)

Mohan (Docmo),

I was on the edge of my seat as much with Part 2 as I was with Part 1. As I mentioned in my comment in Part 1, your poetry is incredible. As much as I enjoy reading your poems, I love reading your short stories even more.

Thank you for taking the time during your three-week summer holiday to write the first two parts of this serialized story. Now that you'll be returning to Wigan and your 70-hour work weeks, I hope you'll find the time to continue the story.

One thing that struck me immediately as Julie Johnson was telling Susan Miller about Dad...Robert Miller's birthday and your birthday are both the 26th of August.


myownlife profile image

myownlife 4 years ago from london

Very much interesting story.4

Great job


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Having come this far you can't possibly stop now. It would be like watching a soap opera for a year at least and have a message come up on the screen - cancelled. You write wonderfully. Eagerly awaiting the next.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Voted up, awesome, and interesting. Its amazing that I can follow this so well not having read Part I...but that is just a tribute to your master storytelling. I love the way you cover every detail, right down to the design on Mrs. Johnson's fingernails! It looks like this is Susan's father but we need you to continue so we can see what's been going on!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting.


kingmaxler profile image

kingmaxler 4 years ago from Olympia, Washington USA

Well written. I will go back and read the first intallment. You have peaked my interest.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Just like real life...the world is rocked when you least expect it. Love a neurologist with "neurons firing in many directions", Docmo. You are the master of subtlety in your ability to humanize a brilliant neurologist with a reference to her leaning to Annie Lennox for help in difficult times.

I'm wondering if the photograph of the pristine, clinical yet attractive hospital hold the halls you walk through?

It is so interesting to read the British jargon for medical terms that differ in American hospitals. "Two Registrars and Foundation trainees", whereas here it would be rounds attended by interns. "Ward rounds" might be called patient rounds. As a teenager I volunteered at The Veteran's Hospital, a government institution where the different departments caring for veterans were referred to as "wards". In that respect, until now, I've always envisioned a "ward" in an institutional setting as opposed to a private medical facility. Your writing broadens my scope in so many ways, Docmo. Thank you


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida

Mohan, I love this story! You have me glued to the monitor! I can't wait for the next chapter.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

You have my complete attention. I love this. Her Father coming back into her life after thirty years, she a Doctor and he is ill. Very interesting. I love the suspense..I'll be back.....


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

Totally involved waiting for the next. Great write.


Redberry Sky profile image

Redberry Sky 4 years ago

Stunning. There aren't enough Wows in the world. I eagerly await the day when you are published by Random House or Bloomsbury and I can curl up by the fire with one of your books. Waiting with baited breath for the next instalment.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

tobusiness: Thank you- of course there'll be more!

e-Healer- much appreciated, How can I not write more now!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Janine- thank you for the comments and appreciation!

Sir Bill- appreciate your wonderful comments. Thank you!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Becky- always thankful for your support!

drbj- how kind- epic eh?- I'm glad not to disappoint you. Hope I can sustain all your interest.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Paula- you make me beam with your wonderful comments. Much appreciated.

xstatic- Thank you so much!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Martie- Baby Tjoklits!- thank you so much for reading this and your awesome comments.

Mary 615 appreciate your support very much!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Nell- Glad you're enjoying this- thank you!

Mar- coincidences? I think not- really grateful for your appreciation!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Dianna- thank you so much!

Chitrangada- much appreciated. Glad you enjoy this!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Daisy- thank you so much. I couldn't shake this story off as it has been on my head for a while ( if you read my ' writing tips: building a character' , you'll know !) Really appreciate your support!

myownlife- much appreciated. Thanks!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

GypsyRose- thanks. I do have the whole story in my head and intend to finish it soon. Thanks for all your support!

Mary: I am blessed to have readers like you who do appreciate my writing and give such wonderful feedback. Thank you!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Bev- thank you for your support! Glad you like this.

Amy- always happy to see you here, reading, commenting and appreciating. I am aware of the differences in terminology in the different worlds. I wanted to keep this English and write about something I am more familiar with as it is integral to the way the story pans out. Thank you so much.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

bravewarrior- glad I've caught your attention and able to hold it. Hope to carry on doing that till this is finished.

Ruby- so glad you like this. Really appreciate your visit and comments.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Nithya- thanks for your support!

Redberry- may your words come true! That's my everlasting dream and with comments like this I'm brave enough to pursue it!


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Your style of writing is so refreshing, Doc. For example, just one gem:

“I pull a face at him when he is on full flow, while deep in me there is a warm glow like a winter wood fire. I smiled when I saw his sporty Jaguar preening in its space, much like him.”

Both Parts 1 and 2 keep us enthralled and waiting for more.! :-)


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Thank you so much Genna, its always nice to see you over here, reading, commenting, appreciating. I am glad you like this story...


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

What, by the way, is that wonderful picture at the top? My wife walked by and commented on it as well.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Awesome, Doc.

Such a neat twist and loved how you explained the scenario. Felt as if I was right there...I am working on a fiction story and might publish it on hubpages to get an expert comment from you and other prolific writers.

Cheers!

And yes, I would like to know further on...keep writing and keep us gripped in this beautiful and heart felt story line.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

xstatic- I found that picture called Girl by the window and could not trace its origins as to who photographed it... still trying.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Ruchira- much appreciated. Good to hear your writing fiction too- looking forward to reading it.


rahul0324 profile image

rahul0324 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

I am at a loss of words my friend... at a loss...

Brilliant writing...


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Rahul thank you so much!


CrazedNovelist profile image

CrazedNovelist 4 years ago from Hampton, GA

You're doing so well on this, Docmo. You're inciting incident is awesome and draws the reader in. Already there is a conflict, a sense of mystery... I really look forward to reading Part III! :)


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Love love love this story Docmo! I am intrigued for sure..please post on FB when you publish the next chapter..I do not want to miss it...Excellent in every way.

Thank you,

Sunnie


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Aubrey- Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad this is still readable and is able to sustain interest.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Aubrey- Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad this is still readable and is able to sustain interest.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Kim- thank you so much for your enthusiasm. Part III is already out and part IV is just getting some finishing touches!


Docmo profile image

Docmo 4 years ago from UK Author

Kim- thank you so much for your enthusiasm. Part III is already out and part IV is just getting some finishing touches!


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

This is again excellent. You are drawing me in and I am hooked. Great story and again you are a great story teller. Love this! On to part III


DanaTeresa profile image

DanaTeresa 4 years ago from Ohio

of course i am late to the party.... this is fantastic. i like it very much. your writing style, the storyline. there is a very nicefeel to it.... i was completely lost in it. that is saying a lot coming from a spaz like me. i am on to the next part.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

Fascinating. Can't wait until the next chapter.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 4 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Wow! What a tense and excellent place to end Part 2. I am still very much liking this story!


AudraLeigh 3 years ago

You are a Dr...is that your hospital mentioned and in pictures? I am now really intrigued!


Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

oh my gosh! I am so hooked now! there is so much of suspense and the revelation of a lost parent? Oh, the emotional drama of the implications of a woman who comes out of no where, drops quite a bomb on to an established doctor! wow. Shared, up and tweeted!


Mekenzie profile image

Mekenzie 2 years ago from Michigan

Okay, I too am hooked. I already read part one and am on to part three. You have a gift!

Mekenzie

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