Her ease of communication and her openness composed a mask, rather her professional style of experienced shrink. As the winter sun, Jennifer gave her sweet smile to colleagues and to patients. However, if the situation required it, she could frown and sigh sadly. I could not distinguish when she remained nonchalant only by masterfully mimicking these emotions, as opposed to when she really was empathetic.
She used this set of techniques on me to the full extent. Once a week in her office she listened to my description of the psychotherapy sessions with the patients, and then together we analyzed the cases. Usually, during this time Jenn attentively stared at her manicure or her face in the compact mirror, or she spoke on the phone with her relatives. Visitors often interrupted our talks. One such visitor was…Mark Baron, the head of the otolaryngology department, which was located on the fifth floor in the same building as ours.
I was getting to know the patients and absorbing myself in the workings of the complex mechanism which is this huge New York hospital, and…every time I struggled with myself at the sight of Jenn’s toned calves and embroidered hat.
A few times, when she was getting ready to go to lunch, I half-jokingly offered her my company and once casually mentioned that I was going to the movie theater. She rejected my attempts at wooing her with the most stern politeness.
…Some new wind, unbeknownst ‘til now, blew and fanned my soul, when in my office I first saw her smart, passionate eyes (a bit cunning) and her black hair falling on her shoulders, emitting the color of a crow’s wing. And this unknown wind blew from the moment nonstop; it blew from all four corners of the earth.
However, there were too many “buts” to hope for something. Jenn was older than me by ten years: in reality she was not forty as I initially thought, but forty-nine. She was an orthodox Jew. She owns her own house in the upheld part of Williamsburg. She has an ex-husband and two children.
How about me? I am still a student, renting a cheap apartment in a high crime East New York area, and am hardly able to make ends meet.