The Persian Doctor
“He was ordinary. Longish white hair. Friendly in the way
Of a person who had no fear of anyone.
He was what Gran wanted.”
Dad’s gaze went past me, seeing those long ago events.
“I had gone that day to visit Gran. She wasn’t bedridden,
But age and arthritis seemed to wear heavy on her.
‘Dirk,’ she said, ‘I need to see someone and soon.
Put out the word for a Persian doctor.’
Her hand gripped my arm and she pushed me
For emphasis. I said I’d try.
No internet then. I had to go into town to
Find the people who had knowledge.
The pharmacist just laughed.
‘You’ll not find a Persian doctor in these parts.
They’re gone, long gone. And good riddance.’
The librarian looked puzzled.
‘You mean a doctor from the East? And where
Did who go?’
I never did think she was very smart.
The newspaper editor nodded.
‘Carl Stoneman. Out on Linebach Road.
Blue trimmed home on the left. He’ll know.’
So, I went.
Knocked on the door.
A tall, elderly man answered.
‘Come in,” he said.
He sat in a well-worn chair and motioned me to the sofa.
The room was bright and clean.
No mirrors, no pictures, no radio.
He settled into his chair.
‘There were originally a couple of Persian doctors
Who lived in this area. They vanished some thirty
Years ago. Don’t know where they went.
Honestly, I miss them. They were wise and helpful.
Disliked modern things, though.’
He cleared his throat.
‘Of course, if it’s the esteemed Mrs. Trent who’s
Asking, I’ll put it on the wind.’
I asked what I needed to do.
‘Wait. Shaman knows your grandmother.
He’ll come to her.’
A day later, I was at Gran’s again.
I asked her how she happened to
Know the likes of a shaman.
There was a light rap on the door.
He was ordinary. Longish white hair.
And friendly in the way of a person
Who had no fear of anyone.
He made a slight bow. ‘Bess Trent,
Why did you wait so long to call?’
She touched his shoulder.
‘You’ve set things in motion, haven’t you?
I want to see the start of it all and
I want to be comfortable about it.’
He made a sign with his right hand and
Touched her on the forehead.
She jerked slightly, then straightened.
‘Ah, thank you, Raymond.’
‘It was the least I could do, after all your help.’
‘You and Gabriel were my only concern,
And I hope you have found peace.’
‘Indeed we have, Bess, thanks to you.’
He looked at me.
‘She’ll be fine now.’
He bowed again, turned and left.
What just went on? I asked.
She stretched. ‘I feel well oiled again!
Come in the kitchen. We need some coffee.’
She got out the can of coffee, put it down
And stared out the window.
‘Memories. Oh, my. Sit down, I have
A story to tell.’
She talked as she got out the percolator,
Filled it with water, put in the basket, filled it
With measures of coffee, set it all on the stove.
‘Back when the first radio stations went on the air,
I found that I could see the waves of energy in
Their transmissions. I found I could go away on them.
Just ride. Scared the daylights out of my mama, but
She had the sight, too, so she just wanted me to be careful.’
The coffee began to perk.
As more and more stations, powerful stations, came on,
I could ride nearly everywhere…and did, by golly.
Oh, what a time I had. And the people I met,’ she added
With a wistful look.
‘Raymond had been a friend of my family.
He took on Gabriel as an apprentice, but soon it became
Much, much more than that. And the talk started.
A Baptist preacher who, I hope, is now rotting in hell,
Got everyone stirred up to drive Raymond and Gabriel
Out of town. Even though they’d done so much healing
And good works. The preacher coveted their power
And, I swear, lusted after Gabriel, and hated them
All the more for it.’
She poured the coffee and sat across from me.
‘So, I taught them how to ride the wind, the energy.
And, one night, they left. Vanished to everyone
But me. I watched them wave at me as they left.
The preacher said the devil had come and got them.
But nobody ever really liked him after that.
And then, I had the family to raise and work to be done
And I just let myself go with the years.
When my dear Edward passed on, I got depressed.
When you came in that day, looking so much like
Edward and your father, I knew I had to see
What now? I asked.
‘Dirk, I’m going to go away. I’ll stop by
Now and again, when you’re alone and you
Can catch me up on the news.
My will leaves everything to you. I can’t
Pass you the sight. I’d need a woman for that.
And she got up and just walked away, out
The back door and was gone.
I stood there in shock for a few moments.
Then, since I can handle things, I called
The police, reported her missing. Called Carl.
‘Just like her,’ he chuckled.
Dad looked back at me.
She’s been around a couple of times.
You know that, don’t you?
I said I did. I have the sight.
And that’s the story of the Persian doctor.