Friday, October 28, 2005

(A Work in Progress)
By D. Bowden
Photo by: D. Bowden

As she walked up the wooden steps of the renovated Victorian mansion, she straightened the belt of her light blue jacket, smoothed her mousy-brown hair then hesitantly turned the brass doorknob. A wealthy family had once owned the house for several generations, but the last surviving heir hadn’t wanted the old place and sold the property to developers who transformed the three-story dwelling into an office building. It was now home to an insurance agent, a couple of attorneys-at-law, an accountant on the upper floors, and an M.D. and a psychiatrist on the first.

The door creaked as she pushed it open. Poking her head in first before going inside, she first noticed the large window with sliding glass panels on her right. She approached the counter where a silver name-plate displayed the name, Lukas Nussbaum, Ph.D.. “What am I doing here?” she muttered to herself. She wanted to turn around and run out the door. Carl would be furious with her. As far as he was concerned, people shouldn’t go around airing their problems to family and friends, much less total strangers. Just as she turned to make her escape, a spectacled woman behind the counter slid back the glass window and demanded: “Name?”
“Uh. . . Marney . . . I mean, Marilyn Ackerman. I have an eleven-thirty appointment with Dr. Nussbaum.” She glanced nervously over her shoulder as if someone might have overheard.
“Please have a seat. Doctor will see you shortly.” The gray-haired receptionist slid the window closed with a bang.

The waiting room was dreary. Sunshine forced itself between the slats of the wood Venetian blinds and left lines of light across the maroon leather chairs which were lined up in rows along the walls. On a mahogany coffee table in the center of the room lay old issues of Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, TIME and Field & Stream. Choosing a Good Housekeeping magazine with a picture of Julia Roberts on the front, Marney settled into a chair in the far corner even though no one else was in the room. Pshhhhhh . . . went the chair as she sank into it. She no sooner had opened the magazine when an over-cheery petite woman in blue holding a manill folder opened the door and shouted “Marilyn Ackermann?” Laying the magazine on the chair next to hers, Marney picked up her purse and walked toward the woman who was smiling sympathetically.

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