In a low voice, the doctor told his daughter to go outside, she knew better than to interrupt him. He slid the doors closed, and apologized to his patient. It was a new practice, and he hadn't yet put it all in order.
The child sat on the couch, amid stacks of papers and books. His body language was stressed, the doctor noted. Arms and legs together, hands pushed deep in both pockets, chest sunken, head lowered. Not uncommon with new patients, but a hurdle nonetheless.
The doctor tried to ease back into their discussion, hoping the rapport hadn't broken. Why this need to dissect them, he asked. The child fidgeted, and looked towards the window.
The doctor could hear his daughter outside, yelling her kitten's name. Dammit, he thought. She was supposed to keep it inside.
It's all just parts, the child said, with his terse politeness. They're just gears and wires and springs. When the doctor told him that animals weren't mechanical things, the child scowled. Not all animals, he told him. That's preposterous. Only some animals, he added, smiling slightly.
The child's hands were out of his pockets now, clasped together on his lap. They made sticky sounds when he fidgeted.
The doctor stared at the child's hands. His daughter was screaming now.
larger one here.