I sit on the uncomfortable, grey chair in the dimly lit waiting room, my feet tapping in sync to the ticking of the clock on the white walls. The walls could do with another lick of paint, I think to myself. I’ve been waiting awhile now, but appointments with doctors are forever running late – nothing new here. I finally hear my name being called: ‘Michael Penchant to room 5 please’.
I leave the GP surgery content with the outcome. I discussed with the doctor my growing anxiety which began when my mother died in a car accident 2 years ago. I’m scared my dad will be here one minute and then gone the next just like her, without any warning whatsoever. It keeps me awake most nights or on the few occasions that I do manage to get some sleep, I’ll suddenly awake drenched in sweat from a nightmare. The doctor prescribed me some medication – I glance at the prescription – something called sertraline and he’s booked me in for another appointment in 4 weeks’ time.
I’m a pretty simple guy. Michael Penchant but I go by the name Mike. Celebrated my 30th last week, lived with a friend in the city for most of my adult years but moved back in to the little town I grew up in last year so I can spend more time with my dad and my younger brother. I play football on a Saturday with my old sixth-form friends and on the weekdays, you’ll see me marching across town to the local secondary school where I teach History to a bunch of rowdy teenagers. See, I’m a pretty simple guy. Except there’s a secret I’m keeping. And that secret isn’t so simple. In fact, the secret would ruin lives, mine included.