Funny – I wrote this a long time ago and now look


The Veil

“Mr Robson?”

“Yes, here.”

“Hello there, would you like to come in?”

“Thanks, yes. Thanks.”

“Just take a seat there Mr Robson, Doctor will be with you in a couple of minutes. Just pop your coat on that chair.”

“Thanks, yes, thanks nurse. Cold day, nice and warm in here though.”

“Yes, very chilly. You shouldn’t be waiting long.”

A smile as she leaves and pulls the door almost closed. Shivering, not with the cold, with nerves. Tremors, God this is awful. Soon be over, soon be over. Keep calm.

“Good morning. Mr Robson isn’t it?”

“Oh, er yes, where is, I mean is Doctor Hemmings not here, I was to see Doctor Hemmings. Sorry excuse me, good morning.”

“That’s alright sir. Doctor Hemmings has asked me to have a chat with you today about your test results. I am Doctor Jamil. Are you happy to see me instead?”

“Yes, well. Er it’s okay.”

“Is there a problem Mr Robson?”

“No, no, crumbs no. Well, I thought I was going to see Doctor Hemmings. It’s fine really, great. Uhm, except, well would you mind taking off that erm thing?”

“Thing Mr Robson. Which thing? I don’t understand.”

“That, whatd’y call it. That on your face, over your face.”

“My veil. Are you referring to my veil? I’m sorry Mr Robson but no I can’t remove that.”

“It’s just that well, I can’t see you.”

“Yes, that is the idea in a way.”

“But I need to you see. I want to see your face, your mouth when you tell me, your expression.”

“I’m sorry I don’t understand. Are you trying to be offensive?”

“No, no God oh, excuse me but no. No offence, it’s just that you are going to give me the results of the biopsy aren’t you.”

“Yes that is the idea and quite frankly I am puzzled as to why there is a problem.”

“Well, you are about to give me the results of my tests, yes.”

A nod.

“This is going to be something that could change my life. This result, I have been waiting, worrying back and forth. It’s going to be okay or I’m dying or I’m going to be really ill. Do you see? You are going to change my life and I can’t see you.”

“Mr Robson, I wear this veil because of my religion. It is a sign of my modesty and a requirement of my deeply held beliefs. I don’t see what it has to do with the results of your tests.”

“I need to see your face. I need to see your expression, your demeanour. Surely you understand. This appointment, me now with you, it’s life changing for me.”

“I’m sorry Mr Robson, I can’t remove my veil and I find your attitude offensive. Now can we just get back to your results and finish this. If you would rather I can have Doctor Hemmings see you but it won’t be today.”

“I don’t wish to be offensive, I respect your religious views, your lifestyle choices it’s just that right now, at this moment in my life I want to see a face, a human face. Can you not understand?”

“Not really but I don’t think that we can continue with this interview. I think it would be best if you make another appointment, see Doctor Hemmings. Would you prefer to do that?”

“I can’t, I waited two weeks already, I’m a wreck, a nervous wreck. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat I need to finish this today. I need to know and to go forward whatever that means. Please, just for while we talk about the results.”

“I’m sorry I can’t. I will make another appointment for you. Next week, Wednesday at two fifteen. Thank you Mr Robson, good afternoon.”

“Thank you. Next week then. Okay.”

The door opens. A long silent walk ahead.

“Mr Robson. It’s benign.”

“Sorry, what?” He turns.

“No, please don’t turn around. The biopsy, the results show that the lesion is benign and there is no need for anything further at this time.”

Their open smiles light the room, two pairs of eyes well with tears, East meets West and understands, compromises. Understands and finds the way.

Read more: Short Story: The Veil | Shortbread

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