Sunday, 19 November 2017

Whole and Undivided 2

Whole and Undivided 2

In Marine's family, there was no change in the household business and operations unless her mother was comfortable with it, and she was a traditionalist on every matter except fashion where she was respected for being able to step up to higher levels.

Marine and her siblings enjoyed the admiration of their peers on her clothes that were usually up-to-season and not just name brand, but on the matter of anything else, change was a no-go. At this time they were a family of five. The three children were: Marine the youngest at age 14, her brother age 16, and half-sister age 17 and six months older than her brother; the children shared the same father.

Sundays were her mother's simmer down time. After dinner was cleared, Marine's mother would go out on the back patio and care for her orchids while taking part in two to three consecutive social media conversations by voice and text with her sisters and cousins. If she was not doing this, she was at a social event with her husband, Marine's stepfather. Today was a stay-at-home day and Marine decided to broach the changing her paediatrician. She was the youngest and had been able to learn from her siblings' very different approaches to their mother.

Their brother, for the past year, had simply been doing what he wanted without asking. It started when he decided that he was not going on to Grade 12 but wanted to open a body art business. The matter settled with him being sent to a college overseas for a year to pursue certification as a physical therapist. Her half-sister usually capitulated to everything and went along with the plans that were set for her, as the unspoken suggestion of being returned to her mother easily crept into the aura of a room like smoke when there was a fire raging outside the door.
    "Mum, I want to change my doctor."
    "What? Why would you want to do that? Everything is perfectly fine. A doctor! Where did you even get the idea?"
Her mother did not look up from sending a text, then giggled softly at something that she was reading on screen.
    "I don't think that I should still be going to a baby doctor."
    "Your doctor is quite capable for you right now, it's not like you need a gynecologist."
    "Fine, I'll ask Dad."

It was a card that Marine, or any of the children, rarely played as it sent her mother into a dark mood when they even remembered that they had a natural father.
    "Is there a problem that you want to tell me about Marine? Just come out and say it. I am always open with you children, you are always free to contact your father. We have joint custody even though Leon and I are look about everything for you children. But, if you wish to call your father, go right ahead. Why do you want to leave your doctor Marine?"
    "I need someone who is not going to look at me like a small child, and I do not feel comfortable being the only teenager in an office of babies and toddlers."

Her answer had allowed her mother to quickly think through the matter, and she seemed to have settled it in her mind as a suggestion that had worth. Her composure returned, she smiled and opened her hands.
    "OK baby girl. I understand, I should have suggested it before, so I will make an appointment with my doctor and we will go. She might be able to recommend a more powerful acne medicine."
    "I don't want to go to your doctor Mum. I want my own doctor and I want it to be someone who also knows about neurosurgery."
Marine's sister and brother both went to their mother's GP.
    "What is really going on here Marine? We have a family doctor. If you are moving from your pediatrician, and it is too early for a gynae then ...."
    "I have my own needs."
Marine's mother went into fortress mode. Her eyes scanned the balcony to make sure that no one else, not the servants, not the other children, not her husband was hearing. She needed to lock this discussion down for the sake of her child, and for some reason, winning this conversation seemed to be important to Marine.

    "I seemed to have been forgetting that you are growing up my daughter. If you want your own doctor, I will allow it. A woman doctor, mind you, I am not letting you go to any male doctor as a 14-year old."

Marine's hand shook, just a little, as she held out a business card. Her mother took it quickly and scanned the name.

    "Where did you get this Marine?"
    "I went to the office?"
    "I googled neurosurgeon Jamaica and saw that this office was in the plaza where I do Math tutorials, so went walked across the corridor and got it."

It was a blow to her mother to realise that her daughter can walk from the tutorial classroom to a doctor's office in the same business centre. She thought that she had her daughter's every second mapped out and under supervision. She touched her forehead, it was wet, probably sweat from the afternoon heat, but she felt cold.
    "I'll check it out."
    "That's the one that I want Mum."
    "Leave the matter there for now Marine. Let's talk about this later. You don't have a health crisis, so let it rest for now."   

Marine assented.