The Patient

The first thing I noticed about my newest client as she stepped into the room were her eyes. The dark blue was rimmed in black, just like mine. I had inherited that trait from my father and I rarely saw it in other people. She introduced herself without a name, which I respected, and we sat down to get acquainted.

It didn’t take long before this short haired brunette had me captivated. Her stories of struggles and victories over the past decade were amazing, to say the least. The loss of her family was heartbreaking, and I understood why she had come. Or so I thought.

There was a constant feeling of restlessness rolling off of her as she fidgeted with the bracelet around her wrist. It was a leather band about an inch wide, but I couldn’t make out the writing on it. She wore no other jewelry but I could see a faint tan line around her ring finger.

It wasn’t until we were about halfway into our session that I began to feel uneasy. I couldn’t tell if it were her obvious uncomfortableness affecting me…or something else. She kept giving me a look that I couldn’t decipher. As if she were waiting for me to say or do something. I brushed it off and continued the session, though I found myself searching the clock for the minutes to speed up. As the hour ended she stood abruptly.

“This was a bad idea. I’m sorry,” she murmured before briskly leaving the office. I wanted to call after her, assure her it was okay and to come back, but an inner voice kept my lips silent. I stood slowly and went to prepare myself for the next client, but my assistant entered the office with a smile.

“Yes?” I asked in an unintentionally clipped tone. She paused before bringing a small black box from behind her back and placing it on my desk. It looked almost like denim and was wrapped in a bright turquoise bow.

“This came from your husband,” she said before giving me a look and leaving the room. I sighed, feeling bad, and opened the card that was beside it.

Happy anniversary, darlin’. I had this engraved with the children’s and my name so you’ll always have us with you.

A frown pulled at my brow as I undid the bow and opened the box. Inside, a leather bracelet sat nestled in tissue paper. What kind of joke was this? I lifted it to inspect the new leather and the scrawl written across the top. Aside from the wear and tear, it was identical to the one my client had worn. I looked around and paused when I noticed the person standing just inside the doorway.

“I didn’t want it to be true. I wanted to protect you, protect them. Keep it from happening again,” she whispered as she spun the bracelet around her wrist. “I’m already too late.”

 

Find more of my flash fiction here:

Unicorn Meat

Rekindling

A War We Would Not Win

Painted Red

The Raven’s Call

The Skull

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