Summers 9C

Sumeet motioned for Jane to return to her chair, as he walked back behind his desk. “If I may be so bold, I’m not the only person in this room who’s not a native of this city.” His statement was a calculated risk on his part, to further his investigation into her psyche. He knew there was a chance she would take offense, or feel threatened, by his observation.

Instead, Jane smiled, pointing to her mouth. “It’s the accent, isn’t it?” Sumeet sat, and nodded. Gary had already given him much information about Jane’s family so he actually hadn’t needed to pick up on her accent, but since her mentioning it had caused recognition rather than revelation within him, he felt his nod was truthful. “I’ve done a pretty good job of losing it since moving here from downstate, but every once in a while I still sound like a hick.”

“Does that bother you, Jane?”

She shrugged. “Not really. It’s like, I don’t know, a birthmark or something. You’re not happy to have it, but it’s part of who you are, so you just, I don’t know — live your life.”

Sumeet was encouraged by her response. “A healthy attitude.” He leaned forward, over his desk. “Jane, part of my routine when working with . . . people like yourself — ” he had almost said patients — “is to find out what they remember most about their childhood. Specifically, their parents. Hearing what they have have to say can be very illuminating, I find.” Sumeet leaned back and waited for a response to his invitation.

Jane arched an eyebrow, stared back inquisitively at Dr. Patel. “That’s a lot of memories to sort through. Tell you what — how about we start from the present, and work our way back?”

“Certainly!”

Jane rubbed her chin. “Well, there’s my mother. She’s coming up tomorrow — didn’t want her to, but when she heard about — ” her voice trailed off.

Sumeet leaned forward. “Your — condition?”

Jane quickly raised her palms to her sides, then lowered them down to her lap. “That’s about as good a way of describing what’s going on with me as anything else I could think of.”

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