A Choice of P(l)ace [CW series #24]

“So how was your first day as a secretary?” Henry grinned. It was 1pm and he had just finished his morning’s therapy sessions. An uneventful morning by comparison to the previous day. He thought Junior had done well. Somehow he couldn’t help but think of him as an awkward teenager still who at sixteen had rebelled against his parents’ decision to move from the city to the boring middle of nowhere, but he was nearing his thirtieth birthday. Time was sure flying even here in the country where the pace of life was slower than it had been when the O’Reilly’s lived in Dublin and Henry had been a GP with long working hours and too little time for his family.

Junior looked happy now. Of course it was easier to be happy, if being in a place was a matter of one’s own choice. He had followed Henry’s prompt to change into different, brighter clothes, the concession being that he was wearing a pink shirt with the black pair of leather trousers instead of the black hoodie which he had sported at breakfast.

“You look good in pink,” Henry walked over to the reception desk and sat down on the edge watching his son typing, “I think I have a shirt like this. Haven’t worn it in ages though. MJ doesn’t like it on me.”

“That’s good, because it is yours. I borrowed it this morning.”

“Ah, that explains why it looked familiar. You can keep it if you like. I see you’re taking to secretarial life like a fish in water.”

Junior nodded and tilted his head over to a pile of folders beside the computer. “I’ve started looking at how to best organize your records electronically. I’m hoping your secretary is good at deciphering your squiggles. She can start typing these up while I continue looking around for the most suitable cloud storage solution. I’ll need to talk to you as well to show me your current system and to decide how far back we want to go with this. I’d suggest that we start with the live records and work our way back. I’m thinking we’d need to decide on an approach that makes most sense. I guess you have regulars, occasionals, once offs, past regulars who have stopped therapy. I’d like to understand if you already categorize your records in some way. Oh, and I was looking for Catherine White’s file but couldn’t find it. I know you said she won’t come back, but you mentioned she’d been a regular up to yesterday and I was curious and wanted to have a look at the record you have kept of her.”

“I gave it to John to read through when I met him for lunch yesterday. I’d given her John’s contact details thinking he might be able to help her, but I don’t hold much hope that she’ll make an appointment with him. She was really mad at me and I doubt that she’ll do anything I suggested. She’s gone to this White Well Hermitage place now for a retreat. I hope it helps her to shut everyone she knows out rather than plunging her even deeper into anger and despair.”

“John rang while you had your last therapy session for the day going on. She was lovely by the way, a bit standoffish at first but then we got chatting and when she paid up for today she made another appointment for same time next week. I’ll meet her for a drink tonight.”

“Hm, do I sense romance in the air? She might be coming back to see me because of you looking so well in my pink shirt. She’s the girl from the village shop, she’s let me place flyers there and said she got curious about mindfulness and wanted to see what it was like. I had her down as a once off, but you never know, do you,” Henry winked, “So what did John say?”

“Said to ring him back. He wants to meet up with you. He said to let you know that he hadn’t heard, you’d know what he’s talking about. He also asked me if I speak any Italian. Do you know what that’s about?”

“No idea. His girlfriend is Italian but her English is good. I better call him back.” Henry went into his study and closed the door. A few minutes later he re-emerged. “We’re meeting for lunch in Sligo town in the An Fidleir Dubh. He wants to talk about that file I left with him, says he thinks he came across something interesting and that he’s spoken with a mate of his to try and verify a suspicion he has. I said I might bring you along, since you’re interested in the case and I guess you’re hungry after this morning’s work. Are you coming? We’ll take the jeep, I’m not sitting on the back of that motorbike.”

© Ash N. Finn, 2016

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