Poor Doctor

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
“Did you see Dr. Anniston’s wife? It’s no wonder we never met her; he probably keeps her hidden out of embarrassment.”
“I know. I hate to be so mean, but what a church mouse, so dull.”
“Imagine, he goes home to that every night.”
“Maybe we should try distracting him a bit at work.”

They are both laughing now. I think I might pretend to cough or be so bold as to open the stall door, but I don’t. Momma always told me I wasn’t a pretty one, and maybe she was a bit right. These women didn’t even stop to think someone might be in here? I peek through the tiniest crack and get a glimpse of a purple shimmering gown and long bleached blonde hair. The other woman finishes applying crimson lipstick and begins talking again.

“What about the grandma pearls she’s wearing? I suppose they match her outfit. Clearly, she forgot to read the memo. We are at a benefit gala, not a funeral!”
“Poor doctor, what could he ever see in her?”

They leave, and I take a slow deep breath. As I step out and look in the mirror, I know there is some truth in the words, but only a small shred. I feel a lump begin to form in my throat and tears well in my eyes. Despite the events of the day, I keep it together, stand up straight and remember why I’m here.

Arriving close to the table, I see my husband rise and pull my chair. He smiles and sends me a wink. The table to the right seats the two women from the powder room, they stare at me. He notices my distraction and looks over. I watch as he rolls his eyes and whispers I love you.

“Do you know them?”
“Yeah, they work at the hospital. Probably better suited for reality television. Did they say something to you? You look a bit upset.”
“No. They didn’t say a thing to me.”

He knows me well, and I see the wheels turning even when I don’t say another word. Our table holds dear friends and the ugliness from earlier drifts away. When it is his turn to speak, he leaves and heads to the podium. The room quiets as he begins talking.

“Good evening everyone. I am beyond thrilled to stand here before you. As medical professionals, we strive to provide the best ways to improve patients’ lives. We embrace the latest high-tech equipment. Pharmaceutical companies present us with countless new medications. Alternative therapies are on the rise, and endless research studies are going on right now, tirelessly working to find cures. These are all great, great things. But for today, these things won’t work for someone. We don’t have all the answers.
So what happens when we don’t have a solution or when hope is gone? Do we try to shake it off late at night with a stiff drink and a ‘that’s life’ attitude? Curse God and kick the wall. I did. Frustration and anger filled many of my early days a physician. Making a difference in many lives didn’t matter for the one that I couldn’t help. But a book, with the right perspective, changed all that for me.
Tonight as I look around the room, I see a lot of things. I see generosity and thank you for your giving. I see beautiful people, fancy clothes; plates piled high and lots of champagne. I also see something most of you don’t.
I’m here tonight, privileged to introduce a very special guest. Many of you have heard or read The Bedside Manner by Tessa Wright. This phenomenal bestseller has changed the way multiple doctors view and treat patients. The best part, it isn’t written by a physician. It comes from someone with beautiful brown eyes. Someone I am humbled to know, let alone love more words could ever say. Someone who was late here tonight because there was a funeral to attend.
It is with pure admiration I introduce you to the real Tessa. Please welcome the author and my lovely wife, Mrs. Thera Anniston.”

I stand and walk towards my husband....my right hand gratefully placed over my grandmother’s precious pearls.