Wednesday, 29 July 2009


... a specialist at a big hospital, who shone lights in David's eyes and examined his skull. He asked David some questions, then asked David's father many more, some of them concerning David's mother and her death. David had then been told to wait outside while they talked, and when David's father came out he looked angry. That was how they had ended up at Dr Moberley's office.
Dr Moberley was a psychiatrist.
A buzzer sounded beside the secretary's desk and she nodded to David and his father.
"He can go in now," she said.

A small man with grey hair and a grey beard sat behind an antique desk that looked too big for him. He wore rectangular glasses with a gold chain to keep him from losing them. A red and black bow tie was knotted tightly at his neck, and his suit was dark and baggy.
'Welcome,' he said. 'I'm Dr Moberley. You must be David.'
David nodded. Dr Moberley asked David to sit down, then flicked through the pages of a notebook on his desk, tugging on his beard when he read whatever was written on them. When he had finished, he looked up and asked David how he was. David said he was fine. Dr Moberley asked him if he was sure. David said he was reasonably sure. Dr Moberley said David's dad was worried about him. He asked David if he missed his mum. David didn't answer. Of course he missed her, and he was sad because of it. He didn't need a doctor to tell him that.

Dr Moberley gave David a box of pencils and asked him to draw a picture of a house. David took a lead pencil and carefully drew the walls and the chimney, then put in some windows and a door before he set to work adding little curved slates to the roof. He was quite lost in the act of drawing when Dr Moberley told him that was quite enough. He asked David if he hadn't thought of using coloured pencils. David told him that the drawing wasn't finished, and once the tiles were added to the roof he planned to colour them red. Dr Moberley asked David, in the v-e-r-y s-l-o-w way that some of his books spoke, why the slates were so important.

David wondered if Dr Moberley was a real doctor. Doctors were supposed to be very clever. Dr Moberley didn't seem terribly clever. V-e-r-y s-l-o-w-ly, David explained that without the slates on the roof, the rain would get in. Dr Moberley asked David if he was afraid of the rain getting in. David said he didn't like getting wet. It wasn't so bad outside, if you were dressed for it, but most people didn't dress for rain indoors.
Dr Moberley looked a bit confused.

Next, he asked David to draw a tree. Again, David took the pencil and painstakingly drew the branches, and then proceeded to add little leaves to each one. He was only on the third branch when Dr Moberley asked him to stop again. This time, Dr Moberley had the kind of expression that David's father sometimes had when he managed to finish the crossword in the Sunday paper. Short of standing up and shouting 'Aha!' with his finger pointing in the way mad scientists did in cartoons, he couldn't have looked more pleased with himself.

Taken, and edited about a bit from 'The Book of Lost Things' by John Connolly