“Mmm nothing, I just got some colored contacts.”
She wrinkled her nose, the nose he’d once kissed to make her laugh.
“I didn’t know you wore contacts.”
Nathaniel nodded, “Yea, I do.”
She took her gaze off of him and turned it toward the doctor, who’d been silent the entire time.
“And you’re John's father I suppose?”
The Doctor laughed heartily, "Not at all! I'm more of a family friend."
She giggled, then turned back to Nathaniel.
“Well, I should be going. I’ll see you around though, I hope.”
Nathaniel didn’t say anything, and before she left, she gave him a quick hug. It made him feel sick to his stomach. It made him want to cry out and yell at her. The pain inside him was now drowned out by anger towards her. The doctor spoke after she’d walked out the door.
“That was her, wasn’t it?”
But he didn’t reply, only allowing the swelling in his chest to calm slowly lest he say something he would later regret.
“Come on” said the doctor, “let’s get a table, and we’ll talk some more…”
They sat down at a table sitting across from each other. Nathaniel didn’t make contact with the doctor’s eyes, only looking at the floor.
“What do you want to eat?” the doctor asked, but the boy only shrugged.
For a moment, the doctor felt angry and impatient with him. Why couldn’t he just get over it? What was the big deal? It’s not like he hadn’t gotten over the same thing before. But he knew very well how complicated feelings could be. Even he had trouble understanding his own, and it’d been that way for a while.
“I’ll just order something for both of us.”
Nathaniel nodded slowly, his eyes glassy and still examing the floor. The doctor ordered two cheeseburgers and one milk shake for the boy. He pushed the milkshake toward him.
“I’d like to see a smile…”
Nathaniel’s eyes lifted slightly to meet the doctor’s, “And you think material things can do that for me?”
The doctor shook his head, “No… but listen, being happy is loving who you truly are, not what you think someone has turned you into.”