American Boy by Larry Watson

By Larry Watson

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Her neck was long, and her jaw was delicate but square. Her chestnut hair was not tightly pin-curled or overly coiffed, but simply tied back or piled on top of her head without regard to style or fashion. She wore faded print dresses that looked as if they came out of a grandmother’s closet, though these dresses must have been a smaller person’s hand-me-downs, for they always looked a bit too tight, and the hems and sleeves too short. And yet along with an element of aloofness, her austere, gray-eyed loveliness gave her a refined, almost aristocratic appearance, at least to my small-town eyes.

Matthew? ” He patted my leg tenderly. As soon as he thought I was fully awake, Dr. ” I barely had time to gasp before he went on. ” “What ... ” Dr. Dunbar was to be forgiven for this response. I’d wanted to know about the accident itself, but he’d answered according to how his profession interpreted curiosity. ” I shook my head. Dr. Dunbar reached over and pressed three fingers against my abdomen. He poked hard to impress me with that area’s softness and vulnerability, and to make certain I understood what he was telling me.

Initially the doctors kept their offices downtown, on the second floor of the building that had Karlsson’s law firm and Burke’s Pharmacy on the first, but once the new addition was completed, they moved into the Dunbars’ house, along with Betty Schaeffer, their nurse-receptionist. Patients who required treatment beyond what doctors Dunbar, McLaughlin, or the four doctors in the Cumberland Clinic could provide had to travel fifty miles to the nearest hospital, which was located in Bellamy, Minnesota.

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