Best served cold - Part Two
“I didn’t hurry; I knew I didn’t have to! I got there in about thirty minutes and put on my most worried look as I enquired as to Melvin’s whereabouts. I was directed down a corridor and met by a young-looking doctor. He was clearly more upset than I was, even when he had told me that Melvin hadn’t survived. I was acting the distraught wife--he wasn’t acting at all. I wanted to hug and comfort him. Apparently Melvin had collapsed bang on time---just after ten. As usual nobody had the faintest idea what to do in these circumstances, apart from sending for an ambulance. The paramedics tried to defibrillate him and although I knew this procedure could not possibly work. Of course it did not.
“Briefly, the heart's pumping action is controlled by impulses produced in the right atrium called the ‘sinus node’. This node is known as the heart's natural pacemaker. Its pulses make the atria contract and push blood to the ventricles. The impulses travel to the ventricles through the AV (atrio-ventricular) node which acts like a junction box: when the pulses reach the ventricles, it makes them contract and push the blood out of the heart. My application effectively shorted out the junction box. Since the ventricles could not pump, death would have been nearly instant.
“All had gone according to plan, and I was feeling well-pleased. I had to go through all the standard procedure that I could well have done without: the silly talk, saying goodbye, and drinking the customary cup of sweet tea. All probably have their place under normal circumstances! When I eventually left the hospital, I remembered to hold my handkerchief up to my eyes. There was a post mortem, of course, to determine the cause of death. I requested that I be allowed to attend. This is not normal, but because I was a doctor, no objections were presented. The pathologist was very thorough: many samples were taken and tested, the heart and all its relevant bits and pieces were minutely checked, nothing unusual could be found. The pathologist stated that the heart seemed perfectly healthy--no abnormal levels of any drugs were found. It seemed to him that the heart had blipped for some reason and most unusually had failed to recover. ‘A very sad state of affairs’ is how he described it. A week later the coroner read the report of the post mortem. He was happy with the findings, offered me his most sincere sympathy, and recorded a death by unexplained cardiac arrest.
“I now had the charade of the funeral to go through. I would ideally and for obvious reasons have liked to have had Melvin cremated, but I and his family knew his wish had always been to be buried. It all went okay, but there were a few comments about the tall stranger who was hanging about the cemetery to the rear of the proceedings. Could he have been an old friend? He was soon forgotten.
“A few days later I answered a knock on my door. When I opened it, the tall guy who was spotted at the cemetery stood before me. He pushed me inside, slammed the door behind him with his heel, and grabbed me tightly by the shoulders--then we embraced.
“Josh and I had started seeing one another about the same time that Melvin found his bit of fluff. Wasn’t I then just as bad as he was? No, I was not! He had no reason to deceive me, none at all, he failed me and tried to treat me like a fool. He got what he deserved. He even caught Josh and I together one day in the house. I told him Josh was from Hillary's Blinds and was measuring for a new kitchen window covering. He said he didn’t have time to help and knew I could handle it okay. I knew why he didn’t have time--ten minutes later Josh and I were in bed together. What a fool Melvin was.
“Melvin left me very well-off indeed. Apart from a very valuable house which was paid for, I received a pension from his company and a large cash amount. I also received a very large insurance payout. He left some small valuables and personal effects to members of his family, nothing I was remotely bothered about. Josh had a very good job and his own home; together with my income, we could most certainly be described as being financially very comfortable. We sold our respective homes and bought a large converted barn in the Yorkshire dales. I obtained a part-time job as a general practitioner in the nearby village working only afternoons. That suited me fine; I enjoyed the work and had plenty of spare time. Josh was able to do his work from home via his computer; although he did have to work away occasionally. He was in no doubt about the consequence of ever playing away, although he knew nothing of Melvin’s sad demise.
“Sally became a good friend of mine, and having similar interests, we enjoyed time together. She also lived in a converted barn about two miles away. Sally was a lot younger than me and had two small children. Not having had any children myself, I really looked forward to their company. They seemed a delightful family.
“I was waiting for my next patient and was surprised to see Sally walk into the surgery. She was clearly upset and was dabbing at her eyes. Sitting her down, I tried to comfort her and find out what on earth was wrong. It wasn’t normal for Sally to see me as her doctor. In fact, I had never encouraged it, we being friends, so I knew that it must be something she couldn’t discuss with old Dr Jones (my partner) who was fast approaching retirement age. I honestly thought she had some medical problem but was astounded at what she told me. She had discovered that David (her husband) was having an affair. She had in fact spotted the same signs that I had noted with Melvin. She was adamant there was no mistake. We had a long discussion about how to approach the problem. There were children to consider, and it was my opinion she should confront him to try and sort it out. I even offered to see them together. Sally was having none of it; if David wanted someone else then so be it, she was finished with him. I told her not to be impulsive, not to say anything to David yet, and to see me in a few days. In that time, nothing changed. She had tried to behave normally towards David but found it very difficult. He had not noticed anything amiss--she said his thoughts were elsewhere. There was nothing I could say or do to change Sally’s mind. She really had decided it was over.
“Sally, if you are sure there is nothing that anybody can do to help you sort this out--if you are certain it is over with David, there may be something I can do to help you--”
To be continued …
Read part one of this story
Read part three of this story
Read the addendum to this story