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It Was Love That Changed Him
by Richard Harker

Aged 16, Tom was a boy in great trouble. Having been an excellent student, he declared he was stopping school one day, which worried his parents a lot. They had no choice but to take him to a doctor. What a handsome boy he was! Though rather run down, he looked very determined and, while stepping into the doctor’s office, he gazed at the door card: Inquiry Room of Psychotherapy.

There, inside, was the young doctor with whom his parents had made an appointment. She raised her head and smiled at them. Then she poured a glass of water for him. And his mother took out his diary and put it on the desk. After asking the boy for his permission, she began to look through it very attentively. Perhaps because it was the first time that a stranger had read his mind, Tom lowered his head. The woman doctor noticed this and explained that it was natural for a boy of his age. She added that she had had the same experience as him at school. Her words melted his icy exterior and somehow he started to cry. It was a sad cry. She handed him a white handkerchief, which comforted him a lot. She gave him her number and told him to call her whenever he liked. He smiled. When they left, both his parents seemed so grateful to the doctor that they shook her hand warmly for a long time.

Since then he concentrated on his lessons and soon he became a good student. He kept himself to himself and few girls dared speak to him. In his third year, he applied for enrollment at every possible medical school. As soon as he got permission to study as a doctor, he dialled the number which had been given to him three years before. It was this number that had encouraged him to be good and, it was this number that had offered him perseverance. The young doctor felt very proud but little did she realise that the boy had fallen in love with her three years before.

One sunny morning the doctor’s office door opened and in came Tom. She didn’t recognize the handsome young man who had come to her for help three years before. He was sitting quietly in front of her and she took him for one of her patients by mistake. Again he saw the same smile on her face as three years ago, which had often appeared in his dreams. She asked for his name and opened the record, which was made three years ago. Now she knew who it was but he looked out of the window, pretending not to have realized anything. There, in the garden were so many different kinds of flowers, where, as usual, boys and girls would explore love. And in his class all the boys had marked down possible girls - except him. He had refused again and again. And he paid frequent visits to her, for he had never met a more beautiful girl than her before.

How time flew! Four years had passed! At college he had been a top student and when it came to deciding whether he should go abroad for further study, he made a surprising choice - he chose to work in the same hospital as she did. When he walked with her, some people thought they were just sister and brother, but most believed them to be in love with each other. However, neither of them had enough courage to speak it out.

One afternoon, a patient was sent to her office. It was a hot day but he was wearing a thick gauze mask. She read his record carefully: he lost his lover a few years ago; he had much difficulty in social life and was afraid of meeting females. So she was about to play some soft music to create a happy situation for him when he dived towards her and embraced her from behind. She tried to get rid of him but in vain. So she shouted for help. Tom rushed in from the next room, and helped her out. She couldn’t help throwing herself into his arms. She could smell his manly behavior. He took a chair near her desk and stared at her. When their eyes met, an appointment was made. So that evening they went to a nearby café where they talked for more than three hours.

Although she was a few years older than him, they seemed to be the most natural couple ever. They sat there in silence. Then she said that the naughty boy had become a strong man. He looked up, fixed his eyes on her and then said in a very low voice that he had fallen in love with her at the age of sixteen. She replied how she could not have known that. She added that it was only because of him that in the past years she had refused so many boys. He reached his hands to hold hers. There was no need for words. Only the handshake meant all. Suddenly he put both her hands on his face because he remembered that it was these two hands that had passed on a white handkerchief to him. Tears came into to his eyes.

Now he was no longer her patient and she was no longer his doctor.