“Good God, Henry, you look like a drowned rat. Come in, come in.”
Lucinda Robbins was a short rotund woman with rosy cheeks and freckles darting out sideways from the rather wide ridge of a nose that was long for a woman of her short and compact stature. She was from somewhere in England originally. Henry had forgotten where exactly, somewhere in the South, but had lived in the New Agers camp for the past 20 years or so. She didn’t like to be called Lucinda even though she admitted that it did give her aura readings and consultation business cards a bit of extra class which she had her mother and father to thank for.
“Sorry, Luce, I wasn’t thinking. Have you got a towel I could use?”
Luce reached behind her and held out a large night-blue towel depicting the moon cycles. She turned around to the kitchenette and filled the kettle with water while Henry was drying himself off as much as was possible given that his clothes were soaked through all the way.
“Sit down, you’ll have a cup of tea here with me, won’t you? I’ll light the gas fire. We need to get some warmth back into you or you’ll catch your death. What’s wrong, are you okay?”
Henry folded the towel and placed it on the sofa before sitting down. Luce kept her caravan tidy and he didn’t want to ruin her sofa cover, an off-white cotton affair with a design of concentric dark brown circles stitched onto it which on closer inspection consisted of runes no doubt holding some spiritual message for those able to read runes.
“It’s custom-made. By me,” Luce volunteered having followed Henry’s frowning gaze and with the sharpness he had come to know as being so typical of her interpreted it spot on, “It’s just Luce Robbins written in runes over and over again.” She beamed at him with a twinkle in her green eyes.
Henry allowed himself to be looked after. About ten years younger than him, Luce nevertheless showered him with maternal care and protectiveness and he found that he was grateful for it. He removed his socks and shoes as told so that they could be dried in front of the gas fire while he was drinking his tea.
He smiled, but then, remembering what had prompted him to drop in, a shadow crossed his face. Luce picked up on it in an instance and sat down on the shorter part of the L-shaped sofa, “So now that we have you settled down here and warming up, why don’t you tell me what’s worrying you.”
“It’s Cath. She got very upset at our therapy session this morning, stormed out in anger and in tears,” he buried his face in his hands for a moment, then looked up and out through the glass door at a passing blurry shape of a man who seemed to be carrying a drum. “I’ve come here to see if she is alright. Has she come back and have you spoken to her?”
“She hasn’t come back here,” Luce reached across and placed her hand on his knee, “but she rang about ten minutes ago. She sounded alright to me. She said she was on her way to An Tobair Bán, to the White Well Hermitage for a two week retreat. Rang me so I wouldn’t be worried about her. Apparently they don’t allow any contact with the outside world while people are staying with them. Phones and laptops and all that busybody stuff are kept in a locker at the gate house when they check in and they get them back when they check out. She was looking forward to it. It might do her good. She said she needed some peace and quiet and introspection for a little while. What was she so upset and angry about this morning when you saw her?”
“She thinks that I either can’t or don’t want to help her, says she needs to find a way of remembering who she was before her accident, that I’m manipulative and wrong to force all focus on the here and now in my therapy sessions, that I don’t care about the people who come to see me, that I’m a control freak, basically. Cold, she said I am cold. Did I just see a guy go past with a big drum?”
“Yes, that was Kevin. He’s getting his drum over to the white tent. We’re having a big party later in honour of the full moon. You might get to hear our reverent drum beats up on your hilltop during the night. Let them comfort you if you do, and don’t worry about Cath. She’s fine.”
“Ah yes, the full moon. My secretary called in sick this morning because of it. MJ filled in for her and got to suffer some of Cath’s anger. Cath didn’t take to her at all for some reason.”
“Oh dear, the patient doctor conundrum. This is beginning to sound more like it was a tantrum triggered by jealousy. She’ll sort herself out through distance, the poor wrench. Don’t blame yourself, that’s such a difficult one to avoid in individual therapy or consultation.”
“Thank you, Siegmunda Freud, er, Lucinda Robbins. I better be off home now, or MJ will be having a tantrum. Jeez, look at the time, I was meant to take her out for dinner in town.”
© Ash N. Finn, 2016