I woke up in the morning at seven o' clock, like I did every day. School was set to start at seven thirty, but I had plenty of time. It's not like I had to go anywhere; I went to school from my computer, warm in my pajamas and fuzzy bunny slippers.
After lying in bed for a few minutes, I dragged myself up, and slipped into my bathroom, which was adjacent to my own bed room. My room had dark wooden walls, and matching floors, the ceiling, a white-ish color. The same coloring was reflected in my bathroom, along with tinges of gold.
As I brushed my teeth that morning, I heard my bedroom door open. I looked through the threshold of my bathroom, to see Doctor Fredrickson at my door, her skin's dark color only intensified by her white lab coat.
"Just checking you're up," she smiled a warm smile, and closed the door, like she did every morning.
My life seemed like a big wheel. Always the same way, all the way around. The day always consisted of Dr. Fredrickson's wake up alarm, four hours of online school, lunch, and doctors' visits, studies, medical tests, and health examinations. Living the life of a medical miracle wasn't the glamorous life, but it was always the same to me. That was my normal.
I'd lived in the hospital my whole life, after my mother had given me up. She hadn't even known what was wrong with me, but, when the people at the adoption center noticed my abnormalities, the doctors were called, the scientists and geneticists were alerted, the news vans showed up, and I was moved into the hospital. I was three months old when that all happened, so life in the hospital was all I'd known. No friends, no family, only doctors and scientists. Nothing had ever been different, except for new medications one week, or a new surgical technique.
That is why, when my usually psychiatrists didn't show up at four-thirty, I was utterly shocked. My whole life, I'd trusted three adults as parents: Dr. Fredrickson, a doctor who doubled as a governess, was anything like a mother to me; Dr. Addams, another doctor and my dietician, was the closest thing to a father; and my psychiatrist, Dr. Langley, was something of a friend to me. But, here, in my own wooden room on the top level of the UK's finest hospital, Dr. Fredrickson introduced a different man, entirely. He was definitely not the balk and bright-eyed man who I'd grown up with.
"Joan, may I present Dr. John Smith, from Cardiff." She gestured to the tall, skinny man, in a blue suit with black-rimmed glasses, standing in the doorway.
"Hello, Joan," he said, smiling at me, as though I was an exciting new animal at a local zoo.
I did not return the smile, but turned to Dr. Fredrickson. "Where's Dr. Langley?"
"Dr. Langley is on a vacation, his first in years, thanks to Dr. Smith," she said, clearly trying to get me to warm up to this psychologist. "He'd heard of your condition, and wanted to see for himself, to implement some of his studies. He's only here a week, just to see some of his theories put into play, get a feel for your unique circumstance."
"Only a week," he said, still smiling like a goon, "Then your regular doctor will be back."
I looked back and forth between them. After realizing that I could not protest, I sighed, and said, "Very well then, Dr. Smith."
"Excellent," said Dr. Fredrickson. "I'll leave you to it, then." She exited the room, and closed the door, leaving Dr. Smith to sit down in the chair across from my bad, where Dr. Langley usually sat.
"So," he said, after a moment of awkward silence. "Tell me about yourself, Joan."
"I'm a medical anomaly." I repeated the words that I'd heard time after time, during studies or university trips. I wasn't visiting the schools to learn, I was there to display my issues. Like an animal. I noted that analogy kept coming up.
"Yes, but is there anything else?" he asked, like he was genuinely interested in my personality.
"No, not really. I mean, I don't really do much but read and watch the telly. And get operated on."
He snapped his fingers, and leaned forward in the chair. "Yes! Good. Tell me about that. How many operations have you had?"
"Forty-eight." I replied, matter-of-factly. "Forty-nine next Saturday."
"Fifteen years old, and you've had Forty-eight surgeries?" he asked, like he was stupefied by that.
I rolled my eyes. "It's not that big of a deal. I mean, most of them were when I was very young, trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Mostly it's just to insert probes or counters, or to get better accurate pictures, further than an x-ray would."
"And all this, trying to explain your condition?" He tapped his fingers on the arm of the chair.
I investigated my fingernails, trying to keep my eyes and my hands busy, as I replied. "It's not surprising people would want to operate on me, Dr. Smith. I'm a medical freak."
"Oh, Joan," he said, his eyes speaking tenderness that I was unaccustomed to when discussing my abnormalities, "You are not a freak."
With a sigh, I replied, "Of course I am. I mean, I've got two hearts, after all."
Dr. Smith seemed like he wanted to say something. Like he wanted to apologize, or, better yet, pity me. But, I was right. Nobody understood my condition; I was a freak.
"And did your mother or father have any health problems, too?" he asked, looking out my window, which had its blinds closed at the moment, so he was just staring at the white expanse of nothing.
"I never knew my parents. Nobody knew who my father was; my mother was a criminal." I closed my eyes, not really wanting to talk about this subject. But I knew I had to, or Dr. Smith would complain to my governors. "She gave birth to me in a high-security prison, charged for murder, but of who, nobody was ever told. She never even knew that I had two hearts, and an abnormal-complexity cell structure. But, she would never have known, I suppose."
"Have you ever tried to contact her?" his voice was thick for some reason.
I looked at my fingernails again, picking at my thumbnail. "She died shortly after I was born, in a fire at the prison."
"Oh," he said, quickly. "I'm sorry."
I shook my head, dismissing the awkwardness he was feeling. "No, don't be. I mean, I never even knew her—"
He took me by surprise by saying, "No, but I am. I'm so, so sorry."
I looked at him again. And he looking back at me. And that was when I decided to trust him. Because, he wasn't just another doctor who wanted to investigate some zoo-animal freak. He seemed to be better than that. He was different.
By the end of my hour with the new doctor, I found myself happy that Dr. Langley decided to take a vacation. And, when he left, I realized that, maybe the next week with a new psychiatrist wouldn't be all that bad.
Ok, now it is your turn to review! It was written just to be this one little chapter, just a glimpse at some scenario, but if you like it, I could perhaps make a story about it. Meh, it's cool either way!