5pm, Friday, I’m undressing for a man.
I make the call at lunchtime. ‘No bookable appointments for two weeks’, they say. I’m about to hang up.
‘We’ve just had a cancellation. 4:40.’
‘Hmm today’s a bit tricky.’
‘Are you busy this afternoon?’ Gus says, when I’m back at my desk.
I should be going to the doctor. I shouldn’t be taking on a ton of Gus’ work so that he can leave early for a wedding.
I start Googling symptoms. Ten minutes later I’m convinced I have a solitary mastocytoma. I grab my phone and go out into the stairwell.
‘Is the 4:40 appointment still available?’
‘What can I do for you?’
I tell him about The Rash.
‘Did you start doing anything differently when it first appeared?’
That’s a vague question. I mean I wasn’t having sex if that’s what he means, though that sure as Hell would have been different.
‘Have you been away anywhere recently?’ he says, examining my back.
It’s like a date, this, only I can be way more candid. It’s also 5pm on a gloriously sunny Friday so I should probably stop with the glib remarks.
‘And… Yorkshire, last October…’
I think he’s trying to establish if I’ve visited anywhere where I might have been exposed to tropical diseases. Yorkshire is probably not top of the list.
‘And, what do you do?’ he says, resuming his seat.
This really is like a date. Date slash Tinder conversation, which is about as close to a date as I’ve got recently.
‘Copywriting,’ I say.
‘So you’re not exposed to any toxic chemicals…’
Lots of things about my job are toxic but…
‘No. Most of my office is permanently ill but I think that’s because we’re overworked.’
He manages a faint smile. ‘You want to try and avoid stressful situations.’
I take the prescription for anti-fungal cream – this bit is less like a date – and thank him as I leave.