19 Slices
Medium 9781782204435

Fifteen

Jannaway, R.L. Karnac Books ePub

David did send in a complaint. To his chagrin, he was passed from pillar to post, with lengthy delays. He wrote first to the group that dealt with applications, on the basis that he had been told at his last set of interviews that his academic qualifications were not sufficient and that he should have been told this before he had put in a long series of applications lasting years. A long delay ensued, after which he received a letter suggesting that he had no cause for complaint and that he should let the matter drop. He then wrote to the group responsible for the education of psychotherapists. After the passage of several months, he was brushed off in the same way. He wrote to the director, and was invited to a meeting with him. The meeting at least gave him a chance to air his concerns, but once again he was brushed aside, with the thought offered that perhaps he was harbouring a grievance. He protested at this pathologising of what seemed to him a legitimate matter of concern, but to no avail.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782204435

Five

Jannaway, R.L. Karnac Books ePub

The next day there was the second interview for the Radcliffe training to address. He arrived promptly at the small terraced house where his next interviewer had her consulting room. He rang the bell and the psychotherapist came to the door and opened it. He said hello and she greeted this with a blank face and stiff nod. A young woman with blonde hair, she was slim—and, to his discomfort, determinedly silent. He looked around her consulting room for a moment as he wondered how to deal with the fact that she wasn't going to say anything. He noticed the plants, again, the neutral setting, the couch, the rather graceful antique furniture with which the room was furnished. He decided he would volunteer first of all why he wanted to train at the Radcliffe, and discussed his wish to enhance his clinical capacity and the fact that it was the obvious place to approach to do so. She greeted this with another stiff nod, and said nothing. Saffra Downy had a good reputation—but she didn't seem to speak.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782204435

Six

Jannaway, R.L. Karnac Books ePub

As though the disappointment with the Radcliffe and with Clara was not enough to struggle with, David suddenly had much more with which to contend.

Like his father, David's mother liked to swim, generally in the sea. She and Evan were in the habit of spending their holidays in Cornwall, where they would walk, swim, and deal with some of the reading and writing of papers they didn't have time to attend to during term time. During the academic year she took little exercise apart from a weekend country walk, and would admit that she was envious of David's running and of the fact that Evan was also a runner and a cyclist, riding his bicycle to work routinely. So her heart attack was something that perhaps should have been expected; she had seemed more tired in the months preceding the summer and had talked with enthusiasm of her retirement planned for the following year. The workload she undertook had been heavy.

That summer, temporarily (he hoped) single, David had joined his mother and stepfather for a week and joined in their walks and swims, enjoying the break in his routine and glad of the chance to get away. He planned to join friends in a cottage in Brittany after he had returned to London, spending a week back at work and then going on leave again. However, one evening during that week in London, as he was cooking himself a meal, Evan rang, speaking calmly despite being clearly distraught. There had been no warning, nothing. David's mother had a heart attack as they were climbing a steep coastal path near the beach. The lifeguards had been magnificent. The air ambulance had been called and took her to hospital but it was such a massive heart attack there was nothing they could do.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782204435

Ten

Jannaway, R.L. Karnac Books ePub

It was June. The new job had become more routine. All seemed much as usual; Jack and Marie's baby arrived, just a few days late. David visited them with Rachel, on a hot sunny day. The new baby was a boy, christened for Jack's grandfather, Peter. Their front room was festooned with cards and flowers and the new parents were beaming but shocked by the sudden change to their lives. The tiny baby dozed fitfully with occasional dreams and whimpers. As David had feared, the sight of the happy new family provoked Rachel into a fresh assault on his determination not to go down the path of having a baby themselves.

“But why not, David?” Rachel said to him as they arrived back in their flat.

“I just feel I'm not ready to be a parent, Rachel,” he said, nettled by the pressure from her.

“Well I can't carry on like this, hoping you'll change your mind,” Rachel said, clearly hurt, yet again, and downcast. “What future do we have as a couple, if you won't really commit yourself to the future?”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781782204435

Eleven

Jannaway, R.L. Karnac Books ePub

It wasn't long after he and Rachel had split up that he found himself at a meeting at the Limes clinic about a new research project that was being proposed. He noticed that Clara was sitting in the front row and at a suitable moment he found his way towards her. She was obviously pleased to see him. David told her that he had moved on from his relationship with Rachel, whom Clara had encountered a few times at social events to which they had all been invited.

“I hope it's not too difficult for you, David,” she said with a warmth and sincerity that surprised him, looking at him with her clear green eyes, which he felt were quite unique. Nobody else could have eyes of that colour. He realised that he was staring at her wordlessly while he entertained the thought about her eyes, and, embarrassed, he was stilted and awkward in his response.

“It is a major a change. Difficult too being turned down again by the Radcliffe.”

“What, again?” she said indignantly. “Why don't they know what's good for them?”

See All Chapters

See All Slices