Ester stood in front of the bank of elevators flashing green signals as each floor was visited. Most of the people waiting were dressed in suits and were probably heading for the upper floors where the giants of industry had their offices but there were a few who were dressed down and she wondered where they’d be going in a place like this which was primarily a haunt for those rich or well connected.
Her office was on the fourth floor and she glanced to the side where an index of the occupants was displayed in gold lettering. She saw her name listed there, Dr Ester Benson Psychiatrist. She smiled as she though of the long journey to that qualification and the price she’d had to pay. Born in the Jewish Quarter of New York, Brooklyn she grew up like any Jewish girl. It was naturally assumed she’d grow to maturity and a suitable marriage would be arranged between families within their community. But in the brief moments she interfaced with the outside world she saw other possibilities and decided to make another life for herself. At the age of fifteen she fled the confines of the community and with the little money she’d been able to find in her home took transport to Hartford Connecticut. There she narrowly avoided the dangers of street dwelling and happened on a job in one of the suburban mansions of the superrich.
The matriarch of the household was impressed with this Jewish girl who worked diligently in the home and when off duty with the permission of the matriarch drank in knowledge from their extensive library. As the family were into various branches of the medical profession there was a preponderance of books on health care and Ester studied them diligently. Out of curiosity the matriarch would question what she’d learned from these books and was amazed at knowledge Ester was accumulating. Apparently this was a mind which when harnessed could go far in medical science.
So, the matriarch pressured her family members and it was agreed they’d sponsor Ester through school until she reached possibility of an entrance into medical school. When Ester eventually graduated from college with highest academic honours the family decided their sponsorship had not been in vain and pulled strings to get her into the best of medical schools then agreed to contributing to her studies. They were wise enough to ensure she’d have to put in some hard work apart from studies to cover the rest of her finances, so her studies were valued. It was the only real family Ester had experienced and she adopted them as her own and they in turn accepted her into their family.
Those memories returned her to an event she’d been focused on as she took transport to her work office. It had been on her mind all night.
Her receptionist Benita Rodrigues had phoned on the intercom yesterday afternoon to inquire if she was free to take a call from a Dr. Anya Richardson. The woman had said Ester would probably recognize her as Anya Murphy an old friend from medical school days.
Ester was overjoyed to be reacquainted with this woman who’d she looked on as her best friend in those school years. Anya had run out of money and decided to take a scholarship from a medical school in California and over time they’d lost touch. During their association at medical school Anya had been smitten by a fellow student Tom Richardson. Tom had completed his basic studies at the same time Ester did, but they’d gone in different directions with their further studies, Ester having moved into Psychiatry. Who’d have thought Tom and Anya would be reunited when he’d completed studies on the East Coast and she in the West.
Apparently Anya’s son Sam needed her favours now. Tom and Anya had tried all the doctors and diagnosticians they could think of. During Sam’s High School days, he’d connected with a ball while playing baseball and been hospitalized for observation. However, none of the tests identified brain damage and in desperation they’d even explored the possibility Sam had been trying drugs without their knowledge. There was no evidence of that either. But Sam was increasingly withdrawn and moody and in looking for help from Psychiatry they’d discovered Ester’s name. Anya was overjoyed to rediscover her friend.
So, this morning Ester was expecting Sam and his mother and looking forward to the reunion. Hopefully she could be of help.
She’d been so deep in thought she almost missed the elevator and as the door began to close she rushed to hold it. The door immediately retracted to let her in while those inside glanced at her impatiently. Soon it emptied people on her floor, and she made her way to her office and consulting rooms. The automatic main door opened to her surprise. That meant her receptionist Benita was already there setting up for the day. She paused momentarily to greet Benita and discuss appointments for the day then went to her office to get the computer up and running and review history of those she’d be interviewing that day.
Soon after Ester’s arrival Will Meyer the parcel delivery man made an appearance. Many deliveries in New York came through bicycle delivery as that method was quicker for small parcel and mail delivery due to frequent traffic jams. Will was known to Benita and trustworthy, so Benita asked him to sit and keep watch as a patient was expected, and she had to make a quick trip to one of the Specialist offices on their floor. She’d be back soon.
So, Will sat back in the comfortable reception lounge chair and put on his Walkman to enjoy music as he waited. His lips moved to the music and hands and feet moved in time to the song.
No sooner had Will made himself comfortable than Ester emerged to see if Anya had arrived with her son. It was about time for their appointment. She first looked for Benita and remembered she’s asked her to run an errand to deliver a letter to one of the specialists at the other end of the building.
She saw a young man but no Anya. How disappointing! However, the young man was about the age she was expecting and acting in a peculiar way. She called the name Sam Richardson indicating he should follow her. Will with headphones on didn’t hear what was said but saw Ester’s hand motioning him inside. Probably a parcel to be returned to the dispatch centre. He removed his headphones and followed obediently.
Once inside Ester indicated a comfortable chair and asked him to sit. Will waited for the parcel but to his surprise he saw the doctor take a seat opposite and open her laptop.
“Your mother didn’t come with you today Sam, I’m sorry as I was looking forward to getting reacquainted”
Will laughed. “My name is Will and my mother has been dead for ten years now.”
Ester looked up in surprise, then hastily made a comment on her laptop. Major disengagement with reality.
She looked up. “So, your name is Will, OK we’ll go with that? You had an accident a few years back Will and a ball hit you. Do you remember that?”
“Yes, took it on the head while playing volleyball no big deal, but how do you know that? I don’t remember you visiting with my family at all! Anyway, I must go, or the security guards will impound my bicycle. You were going to give me a parcel to take back to dispatch?” He got up to leave.
“Just relax Will, you have lots of time. I’m going to give you a series of interesting exercises and drawings I’d like you to do and we can talk while you’re completing these. Would you like a coffee?” Ester hit the intercom button to call Benita for some refreshments.
Benita appeared looking flustered. She spied Will sitting in the interview chair with Ester in interview mode. For a minute she was stunned then tried to control the laughter building up inside her. How would she handle this in the least embarrassing way?
“Dr Benson a Dr Richardson is in the waiting room with her son. Should I get them some refreshments while you finish your work here?”
Ester looked at the young man in front of her confused. “Who are you and why are you here young man?”
Benita exited hastily.
“I’m the parcel delivery man and I’m here because you asked me to come in. Now, what do you want me to deliver Maam?” There was a trace of irritation in Will’s voice, but he had not caught on he’d been mistaken for one of her patients. Weird things took place in a Psychiatrist’s rooms he’d been told. Now he knew that was not just a story. Do people pay money for this stuff? Not his scene at all!
Ester recovered quickly. “I’m afraid it’s not quite ready Will. Maybe next time you call.”
As Will exited Ester activated the call button again. “Benita can you come in for a moment?”
Benita appeared looking poker faced. Both women looked at each other and spontaneously broke into loud laughter. Benita slapped her sides as she laughed, and tears formed in her eyes.. When the laughter subsided Ester spoke. “If you ever breathe a word of this I’ll have you committed!”
Benita faked fear but she was not afraid, both women had come out of the ghettos of New York and had a mutual respect despite the difference in their social standing.
Ester smiled at Benita. “Send in the real Sam Richardson and his mother and forget this ever happened … please!”
Benita went out chuckling while Ester composed herself. “not a word about it Dr. Benson!”
© Copyright 2019 Ian Grice, “ianscyberspace.” All rights reserved
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