“Guess who our neighbor is across the street?” Rain asked her husband as soon as she entered their house.
Troy looked at her, unable to begin to guess. “Please don’t tell me it’s her.”
“I would sound a lot more frantic if it was, wouldn’t I? Really, you’ll never guess,” said Rain.
“You’re right about that one. So who is it?”
“None other than the good doc herself.”
Troy still looked confused. “That doesn’t help. You have a couple of doctors.”
“My Endo, Doc Linden.”
“Oh, wow, really?”
“Really,” Rain said nodding, as she reached inside the refrigerator for some refreshing pineapple juice.
“That’s weird. I mean of all the people to end up neighbors with.”
“That’s what I thought. She said she’s going to have to drop me as a patient because it would seem weird treating somebody that lived across the street from her.”
Troy took on a thoughtful expression and then he said, “That’s understandable, I suppose.”
“She’s going to recommend somebody else to me. I feel bad for her, though.”
“Why’s that? You don’t think she has enough patients?”
Rain smiled. “No, her husband died and I think she’s very depressed.”
“Oh, that’s too bad,” said Troy.
“She lost him a few months ago.”
Troy put a cup in the sink.
“I feel like I want to reach out to her and be a friend to her after all the help she’s given me, though technically she was just doing her job, and I don’t want to be a pest either.”
Troy nodded with understanding. “Just say hello every now and then. That is if you even see her. I’m sure she’s a very busy person.”
“Yes, I’m sure she is. Now…” Rain said, walking up to her husband and slipping her arms around him, “can we discuss that idea I had for the bedroom?”
Troy shrugged and said, “I guess we could, although you’re the decorator.”
“I would just hate to choose a color you might not like.”
Troy shrugged again. “A color is just a color.”
Rain laughed and said, “Not if it’s too dark or dull.”
“That’s why you’re the color boss.”
The days progressed and Rain and Troy settled into their new state and new living quarters.
The phone rang shortly after Troy left for a job interview. Rain cringed. Even though the madwoman they’d hopefully left behind forever had never used phones or any other electronic means of communication, it seemed anything was possible where she was concerned.
Rain picked up the cell and was both anxious and relieved to find it was her doctor’s office calling. She was relieved for obvious reasons but worried that her thyroid numbers might be too high.
She tapped the green phone icon to answer the call. “Hello.”
“Hello, may I speak to Rain, please?”
“This is her.”
“Oh, hi there. This is Elizabeth, Doctor Linden’s nurse.”
“I’m just calling to let you know your TSH score is now in the high-normal range.”
“Oh, that’s an improvement,” Rain said, surprised yet pleased.
“It is. It’s still a bit high, but not dangerous at this point.”
“I’m glad to hear this.”
“Any symptoms still?”
“Well, I’m not obese, but I am a bit heavy despite regular activity.”
The friendly-sounding nurse chuckled. “Are you on any kind of a diet?”
“No, not really. I just try to watch what I eat during the week, but on weekends chocolate wins.”
The nurse laughed again. “I know what it’s like. Any trembling, rapid heartbeat, dry skin, hair loss or feeling cold when it’s not really cold?”
“Nope. Not really.”
“Well, good then. I’ll let the doctor know. Any questions?”
“No, none. Thanks for calling.”
“Okay, then. You have a good day now.”
“You too,” Rain said, selecting the red phone icon to end the call.
She then went into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee from the pot on the counter, and then sauntered over to the front window. Unlike the doctor’s house across the street, their place was on one floor. It was a very small two-bedroom duplex with garages dividing the two sides, but it was cozy and it had one and a half baths.
Rain settled on bold blue for the bedroom walls and pale pink for the second bedroom, since the owner, a pleasant older man from France, said he didn’t care if they wanted to paint it or not. She changed the boring beige living room to bright white.
Rain saw a squirrel dart across the street. She found herself oddly curious about the doctor at times and often gazed out the front window toward her two-story house. She wondered if the doctor would move, feeling she no longer needed such a large house now that she was alone. She hoped not and she also hoped that they would run into each other somehow since she felt a little awkward at the idea of going to her door. Many times she thought of various reasons for going over there, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Deciding it must not be all that important to her, she settled for watching the house whenever she could, and that was quite often only because her desk was set up right by the front window. Anything to keep her mind off the madwoman and the possibility of her tracking them down all the way cross-country. If that happened, God only knew what they would do as they would pretty much be out of places to run to.
For now, they were surviving off of her job, their savings and the sale of their house. Accountants were in heavy demand, so they had no doubt that Troy would land something within a week or two. The salary just might not be what it was back east. That was okay. All Rain really cared about was keeping her husband and herself safe.
One of the benefits of working from home was that you got to know the neighborhood routine quite well. She got to know the houses and other duplexes within the immediate area of her own place, including what days which yards were mowed and who had the most company.
One thing she noticed about the doctor was that she left early in the morning and returned home at lunchtime. Rain suspected she was now working part-time. She wondered what she did with herself the rest of the day since her mint green Lexus rarely left in the afternoons or evenings. Weekends were unpredictable, though. Sometimes the car never left and sometimes it was in and out.
Upon studying her house from her window, Rain was surprised by how ordinary it seemed. The house was nice and undoubtedly spacious inside and it also had a well-kept yard, but it wasn’t exactly what she pictured a doctor to live in. Especially a specialist that probably made about $150,000 a year.
After nearly two weeks, Rain got her wish. She happened to be out getting the mail from the box at the end of her driveway when she heard movement approaching her. She quickly turned, heart beginning to thump in her chest, then found herself face to face with the doctor. She seemed so different dressed in casual clothes and without her white coat. “Oh, hiya, Doc. How are you doing these days?”
“Oh, I’m okay. Just thought I would finally make my way over here to see how you’ve been doing.”
“I’m great. Would you like to come inside?”
The doctor’s eyes flicked to the house. “Sure. Why not?”
“You can check out the new colors I’ve painted some of the rooms.”
“Okay,” she said, drawing out the ‘o’ and following Rain into the house where the curious cat greeted them.
“That’s Simone,” said Rain.
“Oh, what a lovely cat,” said the doctor.
“Yeah, she’s a cutie. A cat rescue group brought several cats to Petsmart for adoption and she was the first one that caught my eye.”
Julia simply nodded, gazing down at the exotic-looking cat.
“We haven’t done much yet, but we have done some painting as you can see.” Rain gave the doctor a tour while Simone followed along and was complimented on the changes made thus far.
“It’s looking lovely, Miss Rain.” Then she held a small piece of paper out toward Rain. “Here’s your new referral.”
“Oh, okay,” Rain said, studying the Asian name written on the paper. “I’ll give them a call.”
“She’s in the same building as I am. Same floor, too. We even share the same nurses.”
Rain looked into the doctor’s large brown eyes. “Thanks. You know, I’ve wanted to come over and say hello and see how you’ve been doing. It’s just that I didn’t want to intrude upon you and so I was hesitant to do so.”
The doctor smiled at Rain and said, “Well, you’re welcome over anytime you want.” Rain offered the doctor a drink, but she declined. “I’m afraid I don’t have much time today. Going over to my daughter’s place in a bit.”
“Oh, you have kids?” Rain asked, though she figured as much from spying on her Facebook page.
The doctor nodded. “Two daughters and a son. Only one daughter lives in the area. The others are in New York.”
“Is that where you’re from?”
The doctor nodded again. “Emmett’s parents lived here, so that’s how I ended up out here.”
“Oh, I see,” said Rain, assuming Emmett was her late husband.
“The place is looking spiffy, my friend. We’ll talk some more soon,” the doctor said as she headed for the door.
“Okay. I noticed you’re home in the afternoons. I, well, I like to gaze out the window,” Rain admitted.
The doctor smiled and said, “So do I. In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what windows were made for.”
Rain laughed as they said goodbye, and as she watched the slender doctor head across to her house, she wondered if she’d ever actually noticed her gazing out her window before.