A New Direction
Cecil left the consulting room unhappy. He’d imagined whatever would have to be done would be done this day even though the receptionist had clearly indicated it would be a two visit procedure. As far as he was concerned it was just another way of raiding his bank account and he loved his money. It was one of the reasons Cecil had never married. He was 35, selfish by nature and liked to be in sole possession of his wealth.
Sharing with someone else meant he’d lose total control. His nature had been shaped by a childhood filled with poverty and misery. He couldn’t remember having a father in his life and his mother had been so attached to alcohol she was an occasional influence in his life. Neighbours in the apartment had shared what little they had with him as a child but a teacher had seen potential in this un-kept child and provided clothing and financed his education. He excelled in studies but the childhood experience had scarred him.
Miss Vadstone had been at all his graduations and encouraged him as he studied for his CPA exams. Any affection Cecil had was from and toward this teacher. He remembered that day when a phone call came from Miss Vandstone’s neighbour telling him she’d died of a heart attack. His rock was gone and with her any affection she’d nurtured in him.
The second medical appointment came sooner than he’d have chosen. This would be the moment of truth.
He felt claustrophobic as the sheet was placed over him with only the targeted area exposed for surgery. Preparations had been made to see this was not a painful experience but each cut of the knife was recognized. Technical jargon between the doctors came through muffled. There’d be long periods in which the operation paused as they awaited pathology reports, then the operation would recommence.
Cecil heard the soft voice of Dr Haq close to his face. “Pathology says we got it all, Dr Smith is going to stitch you up now. You will have twelve stitches and when the wound heals you will barely see the scar.”
Cecil could hardly suppress a cry of joy. He’d been so worried and now there we no further reason for the fear he’d carried with him since Dr Williams had referred him on to a specialist.
A nurse removed the sheet and Cecil blinked as powerful lights above the operating table caused his eyes to slowly refocus. Both doctors had departed to scrub up for the next operation leaving nurses to prepare Cecil for discharge and clean up. A nurse handed him a mirror and he examined the wound. He immediately thought of the fun this would create in the office when he returned bandaged. He’d make a joke of it himself to cover up his feeling of humiliation.
Dr Haq met him in the corridor and examined his face. “Good job she said, I’m learning Dr Smith’s technique in stitching before returning to my own practice. He’s the best! There’ll be limited scarring, he’s done a good job and you are a lucky man, it appears we got all the cancer cells but he’ll prescribe a cream when this has healed up which you will apply just to be sure. Make an appointment to come back and see me in a month.”
Cecil nodded and headed for reception. A great weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
The next month was uncomfortable as healing took place, and he’d been correct, the office staff had enjoyed making fun of his bandaged face. Cecil joined in the merriment as he’d discovered staff got tired of their jesting and it was better to go along with their fun than to show displeasure. Showing displeasure would only ensure the jesting continued. That was human nature.
The discomfort reminded him of unpleasantness of the long drawn out operation. Well it had appeared to be so as he lay bundled up under a sheet, but in actual fact it had only been one and a half hours. But there was something else intruding with the unpleasant memories, that was the softness of Dr Haq’s voice and the touch of her hand on his face during that brief corridor inspection. He felt a quickening of his heart beat as this brief encounter intruded into his memory. He found himself looking forward to the final visit. He was not unhappy that there would be three visits to pay for rather than the two the businesslike receptionist had informed him would be required.
The nurse ushered Cecil into Dr Haq’s office. This time he made no protest about not being ushered into Dr Smith’s office and he even hoped that doctor did not show up for this interview. Dr Haq burst through the door studying a chart in her hand.
“Cecil, let’s see how that wound is healing.” She studied his face turning it from side to side.
“Good, it will take a couple of months before the redness subsides but your GP Dr Williams can handle your case now. He’ll have you looking like a movie star in no time.”
Dr Haq laughed then quickly regained her professional manner. It was not proper to make such jokes in the society she’d been brought up in. While she’d determined to put that life behind her the strictness of her upbringing was constantly at war with the liberality of western culture she was desperately trying to fit into. Her family would only accept her back if she returned to the fold and would agree to marry the man of their choice. This she was unwilling to do and she was even unwilling to visit her relatives in case she was forcibly detained and married off in the traditional way.
“Can I take you to dinner to show you my appreciation?” It came as almost a whisper from Cecil.
Dr Haq continued typing rapidly on Cecil’s computer case history file but suddenly stopped. She turned slowly on the chair and stared at him.
“What did you say?”
Cecil suddenly realized what he’d just blurted out and how silly it must have sounded.
“Oh nothing, please don’t let me interrupt you.”
Dr Haq stared at him disapprovingly. “It’s inappropriate for a doctor to have such a relationship with a patient”
Cecil looked so uncomfortable that Dr Haq laughed, shook her head and returned to her typing. She carefully rechecked his file. CPA working for one of the most prestigious accounting firms she mused. He obviously wasn’t in the lady killer category judging by the bumbling way he’d approached her and by the time the wound healed he’d be quite good looking. She ventured a quick look at him in the mirror and decided he looked harmless.
No one had ventured to ask her out in this society because of her ethnicity and the expectation they’d be refused anyway. She was really not attracted to Cecil but it would be fun to enjoy seeing some of the nightlife her western contemporaries were always talking about. Perhaps Cecil would be a safe way to enjoy those supposed pleasures?
She made a decision and turned to face him. “It would be inappropriate for me to go out with you as you are my patient here, but I’ll be returning to my practice in a month. Here is my card, if you still want to buy me that dinner of appreciation then you can phone me at this number and we’ll talk about it then.”
Cecil accepted the card as Dr Haq motioned him to the door and shut it after him.
She smiled, it was good to feel she was in charge. She’d put the social taboos of her race to the test and conquered them. Then she put this man Cecil out of her mind.
To be continued.
“© Copyright Ian Grice 2016 All rights reserved”
6 thoughts on “Cultural Assimilation -Chapter 2”
Oh my. Both of them have much to overcome if they are to even become friends, let alone move beyond a friendship to something more life sustaining.
Always Ian, your writing is wonderfully done and your characters interesting.
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Thank you for visiting Val. I’m glad you like the story so far. Best regards.
Clash of values and mores – looking forward to that impending dinner – at a halal restaurant.
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Having watched a lot of cross cultural encounters and marriages over the years it always boggles my mind to see how migrations from Central Asia has produced such diverse ways of thinking which can cause mistrust, animosity or fear, or a refreshing discovery that we all have the same basic hierarchy of needs and wants and can life in love and harmony if we choose to do that.
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Poor Cecil must have felt so alone having no one to share that experience with. Can’t wait to see what happens with him and Dr. Haq. Very interesting read my sweet friend. Hugs
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This story is a composite of things I’ve seen and things experienced. Having been “under the sheet” for a skin cancer operation I could feel for the Cecil in this story so I put that feeling to work in the story. I think you’ll be interested in chapter 3 too. 🙂