Andrea's so-far mundane life takes an interesting turn when an advert in the romance section of the newspaper catches her eye.
(Rewrites and extras)
Swinford was more of a hospital than a clinic, and that fact alone annoyed Andrea. The rushing, white-roomed atmosphere did nothing to improve her expectations either. There had to be too many people marching around here for the clinic to be informal or comforting for their patients.
Andrea swallowed; it wasn’t quite how she had imagined it.
Andrea edged up to a reception desk, bold and made of a bright wood, rather than a simple shutter-reception that she was used to, and was about to introduce herself to the poised receptionist, when the noise of a throat being clearer caused her to turn around.
Although he had suggested an informal meeting, the man she turned to had himself dressed in the universal flowing laboratory-coat of a well-rehearsed physician.
“Miss Ford?” he questioned.
“Dr. Morrison?” she replied.
“Please, step through into my office. Did you find your way easily?”
“Yes, thank you. The clinic is...a lot bigger than I expected.”
“And you live in Lansdale? There are good bus routes that take the twenty minutes with ease.”
“I know. That’s right,” replied Andrea, feeling a little uncomfortable.
She sat when obliged to, and Dr. Morrison placed himself with order behind his desk. He picked up a stack of papers and shuffled through them as Andrea waited, she spotting a grainy image of ginger hair that heralded the photograph she had sent in. He was checking her information with the kind of ease that a man in his position would.
When Dr. Morrison next opened his mouth, Andrea had become to accumulate a collection of second thoughts.
“So...why do you think that you are best suited to be the head of the Degenerative Disorders Neuropsychology Unit?”
Andrea took a deep breath; she had been planning this conversation for weeks, but now the words came with a bitter taste in her mouth.
“I feel I need to expand out my psychiatric career. I have studied neuropsychiatric disorders since my degree, but I would like to build my physical interaction of mind-to-action beyond theoretical science, so that I can use my skills to help patients regain the lives they had before degrading diseases. I currently invest my work-time in doing theoretical-based concepts and paper-work of others; I would like to move on. I think my large knowledge of psychology would be better applied in the healing of those with age-related illnesses.”
“Uh huh,” the doctor murmured. “But what is it you can bring to Swinford Clinic?”
Fifteen minutes later, Andrea emerged from the chamber with a cooler head than the one she had entered with. Simply for the reason that she had decided that she didn’t want to be working in such an impersonal facility where questions were based on science, not social-heart.
“Thank you for you application Miss Ford,” Dr. Morrison concluded. “We will be in touch as regards your inquiry. You can find your way out, I trust?”
“Yes, thank you. I can.”
Andrea strode quickly away from him, down the steps and out the front door to the clinic, never looking back. Inside, she secretly hoped that she would never set eyes on such a pompous consultant ever again. Still marching, Andrea found her mobile inside her bag, and she dialled the first number her eyes floated down to.
“Hello?” called the voice at the other end of the line once the dial-tone had abruptly been cut-off. “Andrea?”
"I didn't get the job."
"Were you really that bad?"
"'Lex! They haven't told me yet, but I didn't get the vibe in the interview that you told me to strive for. I don't have your skill in observation, remember."
"So, what'll you do?"
"I didn't want the job anyway. I'll go back to the Lansdale Psychiatric Clinic, of course. It's cosy enough for me."
"I won't say it's dull," the woman slyly remarked.
"No, please don't, Alexis. I know what you mean to say behind that..."
Andrea had reached her car by then, a red mini, suitable for one insignificant soul driving over a speed-bump life. The failed job-prospect was just one tooth of the frustration that nibbled at Andrea, just another catcall of the playground, heckles that lonely Andrea was used to by now.
"I'll see you at work next week, okay?"
"Where, I certainly won't mention the mundane routine of your life."
"Goodbye, Alexis," Andrea remarked through a giggle.
As Andrea slid into the driver's seat, she pondered Alexis' point. It didn't matter to be dull, to be alone; there could be no harm in solitary evenings with a broken cooker and a musical dishwasher.
Andrea couldn't stand those bare evenings of unrisen ideas. And so, she reached into the backseat of her car, and lifted out a dishevelled edition of the daily paper, crushed open at the romance section.
She bitterly laughed out loud at herself. What was she doing with such traditional drivel? Andrea knew that she was hardly going to meet the epitome of male perfection (aside from the unsaid assumption she held that beauty came from the eye of the beholder, thus perfection could not exist physically, but psychologically) through commercial measures. She would have to discover him through her absent friends instead.
Nevertheless, one curiosity caught her eye. It read, in bold block capitals:
LADIES: GRAB THIS MAN BEFORE SINGLEDOM DRIVES HIM TO RELIGIOUS LIFE.
LOVELY YOUNG MAN, SNAPPY DRESSER, GOOD SENSE OF HUMOUR, WOULD LIKE TO MEET SIMILARLY-MINDED YOUNG FEMALE PERSON FOR FUN, FROLICKS AND PINOT GRIGIO, A GOOD WINE!.
MUST NOT BE COLOUR BLIND. MUST ENJOY SILK SCARVES AND BRIGHT HANDKERCHIEFS. THE LATTER CRITERIA ARE LINKED.
ROLL UP, ROLL UP.
HE HAS PIANISTS HANDS, LADIES. AN ARTISTIC TOUCH.
HE IS CHARM PERSONIFIED.
AND HE'S ROMAN CATHOLIC.
FIRST COME FIRST SERVED, CONTRARY TO GOSPEL PRECEDENT!
Despite all denial she might later have to reiterate to her best friend and colleague, Andrea pressed the dry newsprint awkwardly over the curve in her dark shirt. Underneath the cold fabric, her heart pounded with leftover adrenalin from the interview. Andrea blinked a couple of times, as if to make sure that her contact lenses weren’t fogging up- thick rims they may not have been, but sometimes, when her smile was rich, Andrea feared that all of her childhood problems would return.
Life was taunting her again with this conundrum. Andrea’s phone had been abandoned on the front-passenger chair, but she quickly picked it up, and, after merely a moment more of thought, dialled the number alongside the name under the advertisement: Lucas Gorge.
Because that was life wasn't it? Against all rational explanations, there would always be the occasional individual who stood out just because he defied explanations. After all, that was exactly why Andrea had become a Psychiatrist.