What Goes Around...

By: Carol Marinelli

CHAPTER ONE




Lucy



‘Mrs Jameson?’

I put down my magazine and stand when my name is called.

‘Lucy.’ I smile to Dr Patel.

My usual GP is on maternity leave, I learned when I made the appointment, but they were able to slot me in with Dr Patel.

I’ll only be here two minutes.

We make small talk as I take a seat and no, she isn’t new, Dr Patel tells me, in fact she’s been here close to a year.

‘I’m not here much,’ I admit. ‘I’m healthy really…’

Apart from these headaches.

But luckily, after I’ve described my headaches and she’s tested my eyes and done my blood pressure and things, Dr Patel doesn’t think that I have one.

A brain tumour, I mean.

‘Your blood pressure is a bit high though,’ she tells me.

‘Probably because I’m here.’

I ask for some stronger headache tablets but she doesn’t leave things at that, instead she asks if I exercise as she takes me over to the scales and weighs me.

‘I’m at the gym every other day.’

I do yoga!

‘You certainly don’t need to lose weight, Lucy.’ Dr Patel nods, and then, when we’re back sitting down, she asks about my lifestyle but there’s nothing lurking there.

‘We eat really well.’ I tell her and we do. I’m really careful about our diet and no, I don’t smoke or drink.

Well, hardly.

‘I have the odd glass of wine.’

She nods.

‘And I like a brandy now and then.’

She nods again.

Dr Patel, I am starting to realise, does that a lot.

And no, we’re not under any financial pressure – she just has to look at my address!

I don’t like all these questions.

Everything’s perfect I tell her. I just want some stronger headache tablets and I’ll get my eyes properly tested as she suggested, but Dr Patel is still just sitting there. She asks about my relationship and that’s perfect too I tell her, except…

My mind darts to Beth who works in reception and I wonder if she reads the patient notes. She’s a mum from school and I don’t want anyone knowing about this, I mean, I don’t want anyone knowing that we’re having problems…

Or rather, we’re not having problems.

He is.

With that.

I don’t want to tell Dr Patel, I certainly never intended to.

Except, I do.

Of course, a moment later I regret it. I have to sit there as Doctor Patel tells me everything I already know - that there are lots of treatments available, that just because one thing doesn’t work, something else might.

I can Google too!

‘Well, given that he won’t even talk to me about it, there’s no way I can get him to come and see you.’

We just sit in silence for a moment. I shouldn’t have said anything. I know that there’s nothing she can do if he won’t even come in and, even if he does – well, I’m finding it hard enough to talk to Dr Patel – I can’t imagine him!

‘I’m trying to be understanding.’ I am! Though I don’t tell her that I’m not doing a very good job of it. My face starts burning as I think of the last time we tried and patience isn’t a virtue that springs to mind!

God, Lucy!

I close my eyes as I recall it and, to be honest, I couldn’t have handled it more badly if I’d tried.

Not it.

I mean, the situation.

‘I know he’s older than me, I know that it happens….’

I just never thought that it would be happening to me.

That I’d be sitting in a doctors office on a Saturday afternoon discussing my husbands floppy willy. ‘It’s just hard sometimes…’ I say, and then I smile at her. ‘Well actually, it’s not.’ But she doesn’t get my little joke I think, because she doesn’t smile back – there are no double entendres with Doctor Patel. She just looks at me with her solemn brown eyes and waits for my smile to fade.

Then we chat for a little while longer.

Well, she does.

She gives me all these pamphlets, one about his problem, one for partners dealing with his problem and then she suggests that perhaps I could try talking to him again, let him know that it’s concerning me…

‘Or, I could just leave these by the bedside!’ I smile, but again it isn’t returned.

I don’t think she gets me.

Well, I know that she doesn’t when she reminds me that the surgery offers counselling and couples counselling. Oh, and I’m to make an appointment with the practice nurse to get some blood work done and my blood pressure checked. I get a few more pamphlets to read – there are pamphlets for everything it would seem.

It’s me that’s nodding now, I just want out of here.

I smile and I thank her, tuck the leaflets into my bag and then I wave to Beth at reception and head outside.

I’ll ring and make an appointment on Monday – I’m not asking Beth. Isn’t high blood pressure something that old people get?

Not thirty-six years olds who take care of themselves - and I do take care of myself, absolutely I do.

I promptly bin the leaflets.

I shouldn’t have said anything.

I’m cross with myself that I did.

She didn’t even give me some decent headache tablets.

I’ve got an hour to kill before my hair appointment, we’re going to a dinner party tonight but as I walk down to the high street, it’s with purpose.

I’m going to fix his little problem by more traditional means!

I step into my favourite boutique and yes, I thought I knew what I was wearing tonight, but I’ve changed my mind.

It’s spring.

I flick through the racks and I don’t know what I want, but I’ll know it when I see. My hand hovers on a dress, but it’s different from my usual. It’s a blood red dress and it’s got huge silver flowers on it. It sounds disgusting, I know, and really, it’s so not me but, as the assistant assured me when I held it up, it does look stunning on.

I think.

It’s sort of Grecian and floaty and it falls really well. It’s the sort of red that looks perfect with blonde. I’m showing an awful lot of skin though and I don’t have my spray tan booked till Monday.

I glance at the price tag and even I blink, but really, I love it and with heels and make up...

I hate those disgusting shoes that they leave in the changing rooms, so I don’t slip them on but I step outside and, as I look in the larger mirror, I see the assistant smile…

She doesn’t always.

I do trust her (sort of), but really I don’t need her opinion, I’m already in love, I just want her to confirm it.

‘You look amazing.’

I do.

I spend another small fortune on underwear, which is nothing new - I can shop for England.

I do know what I’m doing in the underwear department - I am subtle, I swear - I don’t want to terrify him! I just know that if my dress slips a fraction he’ll get a glimpse of lovely silvery lace and I am going to sort this.

With Ricky’s help!

‘Curls!’ He says when I show him my dress. ‘Loads of curls, Lucy.’ He’s as excited as me. ‘So what have you got on tonight?’

‘Just his work thing.’ I don’t wrinkle my nose as I usually do - I’ve got a different agenda tonight.

I chat away to Alexis, who’s in the next chair, as Ricky gets to work. She’s got a daughter in the pony club too and she asks how Charlotte is doing without Noodle. We had to let him go a couple of weeks ago, she was just far too big for him and, when a chance for him to be a companion pony came along, it was just too good to pass up but, of course, Charlotte was devastated.

‘She’s a bit better…’ I turn my head to talk but Ricky tells me to keep still, though that doesn’t stop me from talking. ‘We’re going to start looking for another one in a couple of weeks. But you know what they’re like, they get so attached.’

Ricky works his magic and pins it all up, so it just falls in long ringlets and Alexis watches on and grumbles about my being a natural blonde.

‘I get a few foils,’ I admit, but yes, I smile, even if my father didn’t hang around for very long, his Swedish genes did and I’ll be forever grateful to him for that.

I head for home, but first I stuff all my purchases into the one bag. When I get there I shout, ‘Hi!’ I head straight up the stairs and take all the bags out and quickly pull off the labels so, if he asks, I can say that I’ve had them for ages.

I take the body moisturiser and perfume I’ve also bought out of their boxes.

Oh, and the earrings.

And handbag.

I can do a lot of damage in an hour and he’s going to freak when he sees the credit card bill.

No he’s not, I smile as I start getting ready, because it will all be sorted by then.





CHAPTER TWO




‘Hi, Mrs Jameson.’

I hate Skype.

Everywhere you go in the house it feels as there’s an extra pair of eyes watching you.

‘Hi there, Felicity,’ I say and I give a wave to the computer screen as I walk into the lounge to tell Charlotte to hurry up. ‘We’re just on our way over to you now,’ I tell Felicity. ‘And you can call me Lucy.’ I tell her again.

I hate being called Mrs Jameson.

‘Come on, Charlotte,’ I say, when still no one’s moving. ‘Get off the computer and get ready – you can speak to Felicity in person soon.’

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