Sunday, September 5, 2010

Afternoon Tea (pt. 2)

The doctor looked gravely at Helen across the table. "I would suggest a change of climate. The Mediterranean sun and air are well-known to combat the symptoms, they often help dramatically. Indeed many cases of consumption have been known to reverse themselves wholly..."

"Cases of this severity?" Helen asked sharply.

"Well... there have been wonderful convalescenses..." his reassurances wilted under Helen's eye. "No, not generally."

"And I should leave everything I have ever loved, everyone I know, all my work, and go to wait for death in an unfamiliar country? I think not. Moving to Brighton was enough of a dislocation, stressful enough, and to come here I did not need to leave any of my friends, nor lose contact with my fellow artists and my clients. And the sea-bathing here -- something you recommended, you praised just as profusely as this Mediterranean nonsense -- has done me no good at all."

"Your case is severe, doubtless. But it is not without hope. Furthermore, if you have no interest in my recommendations, why do you see me at all?"

Helen's face became severe, her voice sharpened. "For the medicines. They take away the pain, moderate it at least. But I have no desire for illusions and deceits. I know I am soon to die, and all I seek is a more pleasant experience, less pain, in my last few months or years. You need not continue to hold out the false hope of a complete recovery."

The doctor was somewhat taken aback. "I admire your honesty ... I suppose. But I think you are giving up hope too quickly."

"And the medication?" Helen's voice left no doubt that she wished to end this phase of the conversation.

"Very well then," the flustered doctor responded, taking a pair of small glass bottles from his bag and handing them to Helen. "In another month, then, for our next visit?" he inquired as he rose to leave.

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