Flash Fiction: The Discreet Angst!

Credit: David and Bathsheba by Marc Chagall

by LJ Frank

The slim, bespectacled doctor paced her office occasionally scratching her forehead and pushing back the dark brown hairs falling over her eyes. Her office was located in an urban industrial loft divided into three rooms on the second floor of a building in a university town. Brick walls, tall ceilings, pendant and track lighting, abstract paintings and sculptures and an artisan vase holding a dozen fresh roses from an admirer on a nearby table – all added to the contemporary ambience.

While the doctor walked back and forth deep in thought her assistant knocked on the door.

“Yeah?” The doctor asked.

The door opened. “There’s a colleague here to see you. Says he doesn’t have an appointment but it’s quite urgent.”

“Please, ask him to come in.”

Her colleague entered and she invited him to sit down. The two sat across from each other on overstuffed leather chairs with a coffee table between them and a small stack of artist’s biographies laying on top. The colleague appeared agitated.

“It’s been a while since you stopped by. What’s happening?”

“It’s a long story.”

“The consequential ones usually are.”

Her colleague sighed. “I met someone.”

“Is it affectionate?”

“We’re on an intimate path.  It’s been just a conversation so far. We met at an art gallery, chatted and then started meeting in the evening at my condominium with just the candles lit, sipping wine. Our relationship is a bit unusual I suppose. It seems we have the same interests, art and design and neither of us care for sports. 

“May I ask?”


“Are you still crossdressing?”

“Not as often as I used to. How about you?”

“Mm. On special occasions. Easier for me I’d say. From skirts to pinstripe suits and slacks and so forth.”

“May I share something else?”

“Of course.”

“I was going to ask him to go away with me for the weekend so we could get to know each other. The problem is he’s married. And that’s why I’ve hesitated.”


“Yes, your husband.”

“You want to have an affair with my husband. Are you sure?”

“I’m so sorry. I…”

“Don’t apologize. It’s just that I’m not married.”

“You’re not…?”

“The ring? I like jewelry.

“Then who…? “

“May I ask his name?”

“His first initial and surname is the same as yours.”

“And so now the unveiling.”


“Recall almost one year ago you came to my office and you expressed your discreet angst and asked for my aid? The androgynous spirit within, but hardly ever externalized? I think there’s a quote in Homer’s Illiad that suggests one cannot escape one’s fate. We must keep relearning to live our life…the author, Paulo Coelho once suggested that…“to realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation.”