Flash Fiction: “The Hues of an Existential Summer” by LJ Frank

Credit: Waterfall, Arshile Gorky, Artist

I put on my face mask and entered the grey stone office building with tall leaded glass windows on either side of the entrance in which stood an eight-foot Madrid full round double iron door with an engraving in Spanish above the portal. It read, En lo que ves te conviertes (What you see you become).

I entered the spacious lobby and standing near a desk was a blond haired woman dressed in a white uniform and white scrub zone shoes. She was also wearing a mask.

“A friend of mine arrived here about an hour ago.” I said.

“A description?” She asked with an economy of words.

“Female. Medium height. Long black hair. Brown eyes. Short black dress.”

“Down the hallway, last door on the left, it should be open,” the nurse said, pointing the way.   

The wide hallway was lined with reddish brick walls. I noticed the doors were all walnut strained wood and each door had a peephole. I finally arrived at the door on the left side that was open. I started to walk in when a tall woman in a pinstripe suit, white blouse, heels, medium length auburn hair and large brown eyes greeted me. She was wearing a mask but it didn’t alter the compassion in her eyes.

“I dropped my friend off about an hour go. The nurse directed me to this room.”

“Nurse? We have no nurses working in this building.”

“Well, I guess I assumed…she was wearing a white uniform and…”

“Sir, no one wears white uniforms that work here,” she stated in a soft but emphatic tone of voice.

“I see. Well I…”

“Forgive me, please come in my office for a minute.”

Stepping inside the office a calico cat rubbed up against my leg and scurried in the direction of the lobby.  The office contained a modern walnut desk with a bronze architect’s desk lamp on top and the desk sat next to a a wall sized rectangular window, with a potted plantings outside. There were two high back leather chairs and a floor to ceiling bookcase spilling over with books on the wall opposite the window. On the wall behind the desk was a framed degree signifying that she was a psychoanalyst. Her name was M. J. Andrews, M.D.

I shook my head. “Sorry. Perhaps it was another room.”

“Don’t be sorry. What was her name?”

“Millie Banks. She said, she liked to use her maiden name.”

“What was her married name?”

“I…only heard her use her maiden name.”

“Did she tell you why she wanted to come here?”

“Said it was personal.”

May I ask how long you’ve known her?”

“About three weeks.”

“Hmm. And a woman near the front desk dressed in a uniform sent you to my office.”

“Yeah.”

“Let’s walk down to the lobby.”

We walked to the lobby. A woman dressed in a beige suit and wearing matching platform heels greeted us. The two women spoke quietly with each other when Dr. Andrews returned to where I was standing.

‘My assistant says she never saw anyone as you described although she was away from the desk for about 15 minutes.”

“I don’t know what to say.” My mind danced in circles. 

Touching my arm, she said, “My full name name is Dr. Millie Jane Andrews. My maiden name was Millie Banks. I kept Andrews. It was my deceased husband’s surname.”

“I’m a little bewildered.”

“I understand. Perhaps…well, there’s a wine bar across the street. They have a nice selection and spaced seating. It’s private. No cameras. I need to tell you something. Will you join me?”