to see the tall, lean doctor pick up a set of notes from a shelf outside his door. I had expected a longer wait. The nurse suggested it could be as long as half an hour. As I looked around for a space to set down my coffee and magazine, I noticed him glance down, raise his head and say, 'Mrs Fellowes. Mrs Bibby Fellowes.'
That's when the numbness started. Mrs Bibby Fellowes? It couldn't be. It couldn't be her. I set the vending cup down on the magazines, spilling most of the now tepid coffee. The numbness suffused my body. To my right, several seats nearer the consulting room, a tall, slender woman stood up, smoothed her blue cotton dress across her hips, flicked her shoulder-length blonde hair back from her face and followed the doctor into his consulting room.
It was her. I'd glimpsed only her profile, yet it was unmistakebly her. I twisted my hands, one within the other, anything to stop them trembling, and looked down to where a rivulet of coffee ran from the magazine table onto the floor.
'Don't worry,' someone was saying, using paper tissues to mop up the spilt coffee. 'Could happen to anyone.'
Please heart, please slow down. Please.
'Are you alright?' One of the clinic's nurses knelt beside my chair as several of the patients turned to see what was happening. I knew only one thing. I had to get out of here before she came out of the consulting room.
I stood and clutched my handbag. 'I need to get some air.'
The nurse put her hand beneath my elbow, steadying me as I headed towards the exit. 'Wouldn't you rather sit?'
I shook my arm free of her hand and went through the wide doors onto the street, gulping for air as a landed fish might. I leaned back against the blackened Bath stone, closed my eyes

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