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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 51
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

  • Essay
The Perfectionist
Ryan Toomey
The Perfectionist

It was a brisk morning in San Francisco, especially for early July. Not hot in the slightest but not too cool either. It was Doctor Andrew Truman's idea of perfect weather. A slight breeze ruffled his thick hair as he stepped outside of his door, and his fresh morning coffee's smell wafted into his nostrils, making him comfortably warm inside. Birds chirped in the distance and the sun was shining as bright as it ever could. Today is a fantastic day, Andrew thought cheerfully as he walked to his newly bought car.

It had only been a mere two years since the twenty-eight year old had gotten his medical license, but it only took about six months for him to become the most well known plastic surgeon in the entire state. His work was pure magic. He seemed to be a god among the hundreds of different plastic surgeons spread across the state of California. People that talked around the city claimed he never failed, and anything you wanted done, he could do it. It seemed that in truth he was no doctor, he was an artist.

Andrew was a perfectionist, no doubt, which is why his work seemed to be flawless every time. If something wasn't perfect with the final outcome then he would go back and tweak and re-touch the patient until he thought that they were. Andrew knew deep down nobody was entirely perfect on the outside, and he couldn't change everyone's appearance through his surgeries, but if given the chance, perfection was what he created for them, and he hated messing up more than anything.

Andrew was in particularly high spirits that morning as he sped away from his cliff side home and down to work. When he arrived at the hospital, he was greeted in the usual way. Doctors and nurses upon passing him in the hallways gave him the typical "Hey Magic hands!" And "How's it goin' Dr. Perfection?" Dr. Perfection made him slightly uncomfortable, but when it came from a cute nurse he couldn't help but laugh and give a wink back. Andrew always wondered if his future girlfriend or wife may reside in the very building he walked through now, but that was probably a foolish thought. Andrew had had plenty of girlfriends while living in the city, but none of them had panned out as he expected them to. This was mainly due to the fact Andrew was a player, but he never admitted that to himself. Besides his female struggles, he was admired and loved by everyone at work and everyone outside of it as well. He had been commended at every hospital function that had been held, and his reputation had flourished in the city from his work. Doctor Truman couldn't have picked a better profession for himself, and he knew it too.

On that brisk September morning, Truman strolled into his office and casually relaxed into his chair. It was Friday. One more day until his leisure vacation to Hawaii. Alone and unbothered by anyone else. It was supposed to be an easy day, and his schedule certainly agreed with that thought. One appointment, that was it! Then, Andrew would be off to worry free days and adventurous nights. He leaned back in his chair and heaved a giant sigh of relief. He glanced at the schedule and looked at the name on it, Arabella. Women were always easier to deal with for Doctor Truman, his charm was undeniable on all of them. That made him relax even more. "Just thirty minutes of listening to this chick talk then I'm done," Truman whispered to himself. A nurse strolled into his office a short twenty minutes later, saying his patient was here. Even better, Truman thought, she's early. He gave the nurse a nod of acknowledgment and a "thank you" and she left. Truman walked slowly out to the waiting room with his clipboard and schedule and nudged the door open. He glanced down to read the name of the girl again and he was quickly greeted with a "That's me. Good morning." Truman raised his eyes and felt his mouth drop down almost to the floor.

Arabella may have been the most beautiful girl Doctor Andrew Truman had ever seen in his short twenty-eight year life. When she turned towards Truman her long blonde hair swooshed to the side, revealing her deep ocean blue eyes and full, red lips. Her face glowed with color and her cheeks had a beautifully ideal amount of rosy red. She smiled, showing pearly white, straight teeth. Truman couldn't take his eyes off of her, for he was in a state of awe. He finally snapped to his senses when he realized her outstretched hand. "Doctor Andrew Truman, at your service," he jokingly choked out. She grinned again and responded in kind. "Please," he said, "step into my office." Once they were both inside he shut the door behind them and sat behind his desk while she sat in front of him. His eyes still were having trouble finding any other place to rest besides her face. "So, what can I do for you today?" Truman said. Arabella studied his office then fixed her blue eyes upon his brown ones. He felt himself shiver. "Well, I believe the time has come for me to get my nose fixed. I've been debating it for months, and I think now is the time. I came to you because I heard you're the best in the business." Her voice was like honey, sweet and amazingly pleasant to hear. Truman sat staring at her once again and then it finally registered with him what she has just requested. "I don't think that's necessary," Truman stammered out. He sounded like a fool. Arabella's eyes narrowed at him. "It's my choice, is it not?" She said. "You don't need it. You don't. Why would you ever want to change what's already perfect?" Truman was talking unbelievably fast. What had gotten into him? Why was he acting like he should choose things for this girl? She laughed nervously and looked down. "I'm sorry Doctor Truman but I want to go through with this, your words are kind, but I don't know you so they only mean so much." Truman sat captivated by her face still and tried to stammer out "Please no" to no avail. He couldn't even speak. He heard something Arabella said about the procedure tomorrow and all he could do was nod. When she left, he felt like a piece of him has gone with her. He felt attached to this woman for unknown reasons he couldn't even explain.

All night long he stayed awake thinking of Arabella. Why would she change herself? Why? Perfection should never be altered. He felt an anger creep inside of him about her decision. Why did he care so much? He sat awake for the remainder of the night pondering. Was this love? Could it be? He never knew.

The next morning Doctor Truman walked outside to biting cold air. His coffee was bitter and his brand new car was filthy. He felt sick, and it seemed as though all happiness had been sucked out of the world. He met with Arabella again, and he sat her down in his office. She brought her beautiful eyes to his face again, melting him, and she said, "When are we going to start?" He just started shaking his head, tears forming in eyes. "I-I-I c-c-c-an't do that for you." She was perfect. Perfect. He wouldn't change that. He couldn't. She glared deep inside of him now and harshly said, "This is ridiculous. You're a fraud and a loser!" He tried to choke out something to not let her leave, but he couldn't form the words. Instead of gliding out of his office this time, she stormed out. Once again, a piece of him left with her, but this time it seemed to be even larger than last time.

He never saw Arabella again, but the image of her face was forever burned into his consciousness, driving him mad with desire. She never left a phone number or any sort of contact information for him, and she seemed to not be on any social media he had. She was gone. He strived to recreate her perfection and only hers within all of his patients, for it was the only face he could ever picture. Doctor Truman, who had everything he could ask for, was reduced to nothing because of what he thought was perfection. His pursuit for this unobtainable perfection consumed him to the point of no return. In truth, nobody is perfect, and that is what he had forgotten. Every morning he woke up cold, his coffee never able to warm him, and his charm was gone. The very thing that Truman's life and goals had been based upon was destroyed by them. The pursuit of perfection is an obsessive one, and Truman's mind was driven mad over it. A month after his meeting with Arabella, his body was found at the bottom of a cliff in Hawaii, his adventurous trip finally taking form, to no avail. He was laying peacefully on the soft sand below the high rocks. The morning was brisk when it happened, not hot in the slightest but not too cool either. It was perfect.