Still Endangered

With David’s foot tucked back safely in his flip-flop, it was Lisa’s turn to misbehave. She slipped the sandal off her right foot, reached under the table with her leg toward David’s leg, and brushed her foot lightly against the side of his knee.

Gloria did not see any of this inappropriate behavior beneath the table. But a woman sitting at a nearby table did. She watched David’s foot reach under the table and touch Lisa’s ankle.  She saw Lisa’s response a few seconds later, as she looked up after signing the credit card receipt for her meal. That woman, Dr. Cari Smithers, had the day before prescribed a cortisone cream to treat a rash behind Gloria’s knees.

A tall blond woman in her early forties, Smithers literally stumbled into Gloria at Ranger’s Gym six months earlier. As Gloria stepped off the elliptical machine, Cari rounded the track behind the machine, bumping into her. After an exchange of apologies, the two of them began chatting.  In the weeks that followed, they began to develop a friendship.

Cari’s training in medical school and the dermatology internship that followed taught her to keep her emotions hidden when dealing with patients. That training served her well outside her practice, too. Nothing in her face betrayed surprise at what she had seen. She first met David when he picked Gloria up at the gym, then later at a dinner party hosted by Lisa Benther, another of her patients.

Cari placed her napkin on the table, stood, and walked to the table where Gloria, David, and Lisa were sitting.

“Hi there! Looks like all the best people come to Kangaroo, doesn’t it? I just had their crab louie and I can recommend it highly!”  She turned to Lisa. “I’ve been admiring your black strap sandals, dear, they’re just darling!”

Lisa’s face flushed. “Oh, thank you! They’re one of my favorite pairs.”

Cari’s eyes turned to David, then quickly to Gloria. “See you tomorrow at the gym? Boy, do I have some stories to tell! Enjoy your lunch.”


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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