The Good Doctor 4
Sometimes the memory of a kiss lingers, playing again and
again in our minds like a recurring song, a melody that insists
I drop Jase at daycare and he kisses
me hard on the cheek and then runs from the car to the door.
I imagine a car coming
out of nowhere and careening wildly out of control with its
massive distasteful chrome grill headed straight for my little
boy. But he makes it inside safely. I know, I know, it’s
all in my head! Maybe I’ll relax when he’s thirty.
--I can still feel Pete’s hand
on my lower back as he kisses me goodnight. The rise and
fall of his chest, his warm
breath on my face. After the kiss he tilts his head slightly
to the left and smiles at me.--
I press a button in my car and the chain
link gate next to our warehouse and office slides open. Charlie,
Jane and the
warehouse guys are already here, more proof that I’m
such a fuckup that I can’t even beat my employees to
work in the morning.
--He moved my shirt away from my neck and then kissed me at
the base of my neck. His hair was soft on the side of my face
and his kiss in that spot sent a tsunami of heat through my
body like a sun exploding slowly inside of my chest. I can
still smell his hair.--
Jane nails me the second that I’m through the door. “Rosemont
ain’t paid yet! You’re gonna have to call em again.” The
cigarette smell coming off of her clothing almost knocks me
“And that dufuss,” she waves a fistful of papers
in Charlie’s general direction, “he’s sending
em more right now. Now! As we speak!” I try for the millionth
time to imagine her as the young attractive girl she probably
was when my dad hired her like a million years ago. “Your
father would have a hemorrhage!”
She’s never liked me because I’m not him. Adultery?
With my dad, never! At least I don’t think so. I suspect
that any adultery that went on went on in Jane’s head.
--Pete had pressed me up against the
wall in the hallway to the garage, his whole body pressed
to mine. He’s a bigger
guy than he looks, a powerful chest and that thing poking me
in the stomach felt pretty big too.--
I brush my hand across my forehead. “Okay, Jane, okay.
Get em on the phone, put it on my line.” This same thing
has been repeated every month since my dad founded the company
more than forty years ago. It’s my dad’s favorite
story. Rosemont Transformer was his first customer. As I heard
like a zillion times. “Fifteen hundred dollars worth
of soldering tips, Eric. Back then that was a lot of money.
That kinda business didn’t grow on trees. But they’re
slow pay. They were then and they are now. But ya deal with
I pick up the phone and hear. “Eric, honey, how do you
stand that old bitch?” The company was named Rosemont
because of the lady that I’m talking to, the Rose in
Rosemont. Her husband founded the company and then promptly
died leaving her with a company that she didn’t understand
and two small children.
She laughs like a Teamster. “And before you fucking
ask, the check really is in the mail just like it’s been
for forty years. Your old man shoulda fucked her back when
that was still possible and maybe she wouldn’t be such
an ornery bitch now. For god sake, tell her that nobody’s
getting any dick, it’s not just her.” I could hear
the smile forming on Rose’s face. “That is honey,
unless you’re getting some.”
I laughed. “You really think that I’d tell you
if I was? Too many people are watching my sex life already.
This keeps up I’m gonna have to have a web site to keep
everybody up to date.”
“Well, Honey, word has it that
a certain handsome young doctor is slipping it to ya. Naturally
a girl has to protect
her sources but as usual mine are unimpeachable.”
I groan. “Tell me that the whole fucking world ISN’T
talking about this!”
“So he IS slipping it to you!”
“Rose! Nobodies slipping anything to anybody! We’ve
barely held hands!” My mind races through the list of
possible squealers. “Holy shit, Rose, this isn’t
my mother telling people this shit is it?”
She scoffs. “Don’t be an idiot!” That’s
harder to do than she realizes. “You really think that
your mom would be telling people that? Relax! I heard it from
someone you don’t know and who, for that matter doesn’t
know you.” She chuckles. “He is a dreamboat though.
I guess you young people don’t call people dreamboats
anymore but that’s what we used to call em. Like Gary
“Pete doesn’t look anything
like Gary Cooper.”
“Well actually, Honey, he does. Not probably the Gary
Cooper that you may have seen but Gary Cooper when he was young.
You should be delighted, Coop was a major stud. My Fred got
laid more than he ever knew because I’d be thinking of
Coop. Not that I didn’t love my husband but sometimes
ya gotta have something to get your motor running. Know what
I mean, Honey?” She laughed loudly. “Look who I’m
talking to, at your age you probably can’t turn the damn
motor off! Well, if the next time I see you you got this all
dreamy look in your eyes I guess I’ll know who put it
Charlie, a few of the warehouse guys
and myself are having lunch back in the warehouse where there
are no telephones.
Well, my cell but I’ll ignore it.
Charlie is a bit over weight and is dressed
in overalls that give him kind of a sausage look. We’re eating a couple
of pizza’s that I had delivered.
“Mr. Cortland, you didn’t
really want us to hold up that shipment to Rosemont did ya?”
“Fuck no, Charlie! Jane just got upset but don’t
worry, you did the right thing. Don’t ever let her talk
you into stopping something that you think you should be doing.
If you got any doubts call me on my cell.”
Charlie takes one bite that consumes
half a slice of pizza. “She’s
a nice lady, you know what I mean, Mr. Cortland? It’s
just that sometimes she gets a little…………excited.
She was that way when your dad was here too. Well, maybe not
so bad but pretty much the same.”
The word “bitch” comes from one of the young warehouse
workers and Charlie turns and points at him. “Andy! You
know better than that! She’s a lady and she works with
us! Maybe she’s havin a bad day but………….but
she’s still a lady.”
I’m walking through our shipping
department when my cell phone rings. Pleeeeeaaase be him!
“Eric.” Yes! Pete says my
name differently than anyone else on earth, softer, warmer
and something more.
“Hi, Pete.” I wanna tap dance across the floor. “I
was hoping………….well, I was gonna call
you but it’s been total shit here.” Did I mention
that when he hugged me I could feel his nipples underneath
He laughs. “I was just a little worried that………….well,
like maybe I freaked you out last night. I probably should
have waited. We haven’t really had much time together.” Oh
fuck! He’s gonna breakup with me even before we’ve
“Pete……………..it made me
feel good………knowing that you felt that way,
it made me happy.” When he was kissing me goodnight his
hands traveled down and held my butt. I buried my face in the
crook of his neck.
“That’s all that I care about, Babe.” There’s
that throaty quality again. It makes my whole fucking body
vibrate. “I want you feeling good.” He called me,
Babe. That’s the kinda thing you call your boyfriend.
Suddenly I feel all weird and confused. “So how’s
your day going?”
“Well the flu seems to be working itself out so things
are easing here a bit. I’m sitting in my office having
I laugh. “Giving a lot of prostate exams?” Stupid
ass thing to say! Where do I get this shit?
Pete laughs hard. “Actually, Eric, there’s a lot
fewer of those given than you might think.” He was silent
for a moment and then spoke softly his voice assuming a deeper
more seductive quality. “But my technique is pretty good………….and
I can be really thorough……………but
gentle, you know like if you ever…………” See
idiot! Now he thinks you wanna get fucked.
I laughed nervously but I was kinda hoping
that he didn’t
hear the nervous part. “Would you wear a lab coat while
you were doing it?”
Pete laughed deeply. “This is probably a subject that
we should………….probe more deeply at
another time.” Oh yeah! He wants to fuck me!
I’ve never been fucked! But ever since that truck driver
had his finger up there I’ve been thinking about. Actually
more than just common garden variety thinking about it, more
like fantasizing and maybe even……………well………….craving.
The thing is that that morning that Pete showed up at our house
with a pot of soup in his hands he had a “I wanna fuck
you” look in his beautiful blue eyes.
Pete says. “What are you gonna
be doin later?”
The words don’t seem to come outta my mouth and then
finally I cough and that seems to help. “The gym.” I
clear my throat. “I’m picking up Jason at daycare
and we’re goin to the gym.”
“Jase isn’t weight lifting, is he?” He’s
teasing but it takes me a couple of seconds to realize that
cause I’ve still got fucking on my mind.
I laugh. “Nope, I’m doing that, Jase is gonna
play with the other kids and then we’ll swim together.
The pools heated. I’m a pretty good swimmer and I’m
trying to teach him. You don’t think he’s too young
“No. No, not if you’re a good swimmer and Jase
wants to do it. Kids can swim a lot early even than that but
of course they need supervision.” He reverts to being
Doctor O’Connor from time to time. It’s one of
the things that I love about him. Love? Where did that come
“He loves it. Besides we get to
spend some time together.”
“Well…………I was wondering if
it’d be okay if I stopped by later tonight.” He
sounded all concerned. “Unless you think that this is
happening too fast. I don’t wanna push you.”
“Yeah! That’d be great.” Did I say that
too fast? Maybe I shoulda been like all coy. But the thing
is that I really really like Pete and I also really really
need someone. It’s just too hard and lonely being by
yourself. Having Jason is like a miracle, like a gift that
nobodies worthy of but it’s not enough for that other
part of me.
“I was thinking like maybe around eight? This is one
of our late nights at the clinic and that’s about as
soon as I could get there.”
“That’d be good.”
“Will I be early enough to say
good night to Jase?”
“He doesn’t bug you too much?” Important
Pete laughs. “Yeah it’s really rough being hugged
by a five year old.” He’s such an adult!
I finish my workout and go bail Jase
out of the gym’s
daycare facility. It’s really not too bad, there are
usually a dozen or so other kids there for him to play with
and he knows that I’m only gonna be forty-five minutes
or so. We head down to the locker room and change into our
bathing suits and then hit the pool.
My parents always had a summer home on a lake, they still
do and it was because of that and because my dad was a great
swimmer that I became one too.
I try and get in a few laps while still
keeping an eye on Jase and then I launch him a few times.
That’s when I
swim up under him, lifting him up and launching him into the
air. He loves it! All the kids do, I’m not the only dad
After that we shower and change back into our street clothes.
Jase has even got his own little gym bag. I want him to get
totally into the habit of taking care of his body and he really
seems to love it.
Ten minutes later we’re walking into the house from
the garage. My mom is making sure that we don’t starve
and has laid out a dinner that’s bigger than either one
of us wants to eat
She wipes her hands on a dishtowel and bends down to kiss
“Now boys you’re dinner is all set up and I have
to be going.” Going? Since when does she just go?
“Mom, are you feeling okay?” She’s
acting all fluttery and totally ignores me.
“Now Jason, sweetheart, you eat
your dinner and then get into your pajamas.”
“Mom, why does he have to get into his pajamas? It’s
only five o’clock.” She gives me this all panicky
Jason climbs up onto his chair and starts
eating but then looks over at me and says. “Cause you and Doctor O’Connor
are gonna have a sleepover right Grandma?”
“Mom? Could I talk to you in the
“Eric, honey, I gotta go, your
father is waiting for me. You know how he gets.”
I practically have to drag her into the
living room. “What
have you done?” I’m practically spitting the words
“Sweetheart!” She touches my face with the tips
of her fingers. “He went to Harvard! He did his internship
at Massachusetts General! He’s perfect!” I’ll
have to remember all that as his nine inch, well I can hope,
dick is ripping into my asshole. Have I really made a decision
“Mom, it’s like you’re
“Darling, he’s perfect for you! He’s got
an interest in that clinic you know!” Where does she
GET this information, is there some secret cabal of mothers
out there gathering information about possible mates for their
The thing is, the disturbing thing, is
that she’s right,
she’s always right. The image flashes through my mind
of mom in her blue print housedress sitting at a long table
at Barnes and Noble using her dishtowel to carefully wipe off
each copy of her book, Family Combat by Helen Cortland, a guide
to tactical decision making for the modern family and then
carefully autographing it in her tiny neat script. There are
lines of less well-informed young mothers snatching up copies.
Jase has taken about ten bites and then
wandered into the family room and is sitting in front of
the TV. I kneel down
behind him and pull him to me and kiss him. He doesn’t
look up he’s used to it. He’s really a bottomless
bucket of need that I could and will pour love into forever.
It’s his right and he knows it. I know it too. In a way
he’s the only thing that’s really mine and of course
that won’t last, at least not like this.