Diana's parents had just moved to a gated community in Sarasota. I'd already met her mom when she came up to visit us at school, but this was the first time I was to meet her dad. We parked in the circular drive then walked to the front door. Beside the door was a mezuzah. So they were more religious than my family, I thought. Or if not religious, then observant, as we liked to say.

When we walked in, Dr. Greenstein was up on an extension ladder, trying to position a blown-glass plate on a stand in the living room. Mrs. Greenstein--or Norma, as she insisted I call her--stood below, saying, "It's not quite centered Don." She turned to us, saying, "hey kids . . . hold on one second," rolling her eyes as a way of informing us that all of this was taking far too long. Then her eyes snapped back towards the plate, "more to the right Don."

"Hi Diana, hi Martin," Dr. Greenstein called down from the ladder. His voice seemed to mock the whole act of being up there. Then it sharpened to a point: "Is it alright now?"

Mrs. Greenstein kept studying it.

"It looks great," Diana said before her mom could say anything else.

"Ok then." Dr. Greenstein climbed down, hugged and kissed Diana, then turned and shook my hand. For a second his eyes seemed to study me as if I were a patient. Case # 12, patient is a Jewish male in his late twenties with abnormally swollen testicles. Then, finding or not finding whatever it was he was looking for, his thin lips strained into a smile that he'd practiced on hundreds of patients, I was sure. You were going to be alright, it said. There was nothing to worry about. Let's just give the medication time to do its job.

"So, where are we having lunch?" Dr. Greenstein put his smile away. Now he just looked tired.

"Anywhere's fine with me Don," Mrs. Greenstein said, still looking up at the plate. "Why don't you all decide?"

Diana looked at me then with her saddest smile. We'd both medicated this morning. All four of had in some form, I was sure.

It wasn't working.

About the author:

In addition to writing fiction, David Miller is a columnist and feature-writer for the Nederland, Colorado Newspaper The Mountain-Ear. His work also appears in such magazines as , and the up and coming travel e-zine, Matador.