Emma sat in the doctor’s waiting room, hands firmly in the pockets of her
incredible Hulk hoodie. She sighed. Her mom stiffened sitting next to her. Emma could feel the aged parent bristle underneath her pastel sweater and steel set hair. At 29 Emma felt she shouldn’t need her mum to take her to the doctors. But at 29, Emma was yet to embrace anything life had to offer on her own; in any way shape or form.l
A child perched on a blue plastic chair opposite Emma was sitting picking her nose. She looked at Emma curiously. Emma stuck her tongue out at her. The child paused in her nose picking, thoughtful at the unforeseen interaction from the petulant looking grown up facing her. Having decided this was actually quite pleasing, the girl smiled at Emma and resumed picking her nose.
Emma sighed again.
Her mum looked at her. “Yes.”
“This is stupid,” was Emma’s offering.
“Yes, Emma,” her mum agreed. “But then so is blue hair.”
Silence descended and Emma wondered how long she was going to be closeted with all these sick people. No doubt, Emma considered, the sick people were considering how long they were going to be closeted with Emma.
Then her name flashed up on the board.
Quick as a flash her mum grabbed Emma by the wrist and practically dragged her over the beige carpet to the door of the Doctor’s office. Throwing open the door, Emma’s mum threw her into a chair, slammed the door shut and whirled herself into the remaining empty chair.
The Doctor gathered his surprise and pieced it back together into an expression equating beneficent interest. “So… Emma… What can I do for you?”
Before Emma could even open her mouth, her mother snapped open her bag and brandished something at the good Doctor. “We want this.”
The Doctor tentatively took the proffered document. It was the front cover of one of this mornings National papers. Crumpled, smudged and cover in a
mysterious brown substance, it was still readable. The headline was still clear. The picture recognisable as large red pills.
“DOCTORS FIND CURE FOR BOREDOM.”
The Doctor coughed, suddenly uncomfortable. “I am afraid I
cannot prescribe this.”
“But,” Emma’s mother began.
“I cannot prescribe this because… well, because I need to talk to Emma. Alone. If that’s OK with you.” Silence. “To get a full diagnosis, of course.”
Emma’s mum hesitated. She rarely let Emma do anything like this on her own. She couldn’t be trusted to look after herself.
“She’ll be in good hands. I promise.” The Doctor waved his hands at Emma’s mum, with a charming smile on his face.
Emma’s mother blushed, simpered a bit and then acquiesced, leaving the room backwards, presumably just in case Emma made a bolt for the door.
The Doctor waited patiently for Emma’s mum to finally shut the door then turned a smile on Emma. “Does your mother know what day it is?”
“And she still didn’t make the connection?”
“We’ve not been allowed to play jokes since Dad left. That was 1997. Mum thinks I’m ill. She will be expecting you to ‘fix’ me. Can you cure apathy?”
“I see. Do you have a job?”
“Do you like it?”
The Doctor reached into his bulging bag and pulled out the week’s local paper. He then turned to the property section and pulled it out. He handed it to Emma. “I prescribe moving out. I will also write a prescription for a placebo. I would you just do what you want, with your life. Though it would be a shame to waste it sitting on the sofa just to keep your mum entertained.”
“Thanks.” Emma took the proffered pieces of paper. She was slightly shaken at the Doctor’s quick analysis of the situation.
He clearly noticed this. “I see people giving up their lives for someone else
more that I would wish. Sometimes it’s to nurse cancer or manage autism. More often than not the ties are more… esoteric.”
The Doctor finished printing the prescriptions and handed it to Emma as she stood to leave. “Happy April first.”