“What exactly do you do as a psychometrist? My daughter is in college for psychology, and she’s still figuring out what she wants to do with that. We are always trying to get ideas for her.” The receptionist at the maternal fetal medicine office gives her best try at small talk. I can tell she is accustomed to dealing with dire situations, as she struggles to disengage herself from the situation. Or, maybe it’s her way of disengaging the patient before receiving bad news.
Filling out a few forms, I sneak glances around the room. Vacant, dejected chairs keep a watchful eye on us, hoping they will finally get used. A couple lonely coats hang sadly on the coat rack. I wonder who else could be as unlucky as we are to be spending their afternoon here. The soft murmuring from the TV is the only noise now, playing a daytime talk show to no one in particular.
My thoughts returning to the woman sitting in front of me, I finally find the words to respond to her question. “Well, I do psychological testing for doctors. It’s interesting, and I think it’s fun, but you have to like doing things that involve numbers, tables, and standardized procedures. Not everyone likes that kind of thing.”
She continues to force the conversation.“I don’t know if my daughter would like it, but I’ll mention it to her. I never heard of that job before. Always good to learn new things.” Casually, she finishes checking my papers, taking note of each highlighted line, ensuring she got what she wanted from me. I only wish I could get what I want in return.
Stepping away from the desk, I half-turn, uttering in polite compulsion,“Yeah, there are not too many of us out there.” Removing our coats, I clutch it on my lap, refusing to allow it to hang side-by-side with the others. This seems absurd. Still, I sit with my coat, and Jason takes a seat next to me. Bobby Flay smiles across the screen, standing outside, basking in the sun, the rays shining on his face. He talks barbecuing. What I would give to be there right now. I don’t even like Bobby Flay.
From the corner of my eye, a door slowly swings open. I cannot stop myself from turning, and blatantly looking at the other people. An older man with a younger woman come out and retrieve the lonely coats. Is that her father? Or an older husband? I study their faces, inscribing what kind of emotions they may be feeling. I don’t see damp cheeks or droopy eyes. The man helps the woman put on her coat, and they leave the office with the arms wrapped around each other. They are definitely a couple, if not married. They exude a calmness. Peaceful. It gives me some hope that we will leave in a similar state.