NO MINUTE HAND TO MY CLOCK
By Dan Rademeyer
The thick lenses of the doctor’s spectacles reminded me of the solid bottoms of two milk bottles as he began to polish them on a piece of chamois. Everything in the room, even the man himself, breathed solidity. He was well into his sixties, a few years older than I was, but he was as ageless as a man of thirty, even though he had a slight inclination to corpulence. He was healthy of colour, a man who had harnessed life to his own bidding. And I was a wreck of a man who had ruined my life with alcohol.
He was a famous specialist on neurosis. My nerves were in shreds. He was the judge and I was waiting for the sentence. I gripped the edges of my chair and a shudder went through me.
He had touched every nerve in my body with a long examination. He had put me through medical tests to which I had responded with the faith of a toddler learning to walk.
There was a solidity even in his sympathies as he made me confess to a life of debauchery.
I was a big man physically but felt like a rag of a man in that solid room with the heavy Persian carpet, the leather bound volumes, the few rare expensive prints in costly frames. And I felt small as he pushed the bronze ashtray towards me and offered me a heavy blend of cigarette from a gold monogrammed case.
* * *
During the examination my mind flitted back to the time a month before when I had been discharged from a hospital with the sentence which a little woman doctor had given me: a sentence that I would be a cripple until the day of my death. She was a charming young thing, with the figure of a Cinderella and big, brown eyes. She had taken a personal interest in my complicated case of alcoholism and her sympathy had warmed my heart.