Sometimes the sadness crept up on him as he walked home from the surgery. Sometimes it even made him walk in the opposite direction, unconsciously re-tracing the steps of a long-solved case.
It had happened again this week.
Three blocks out of his way, John stopped short, his heart in his mouth. He put one hand against the glass of the shop window.
“Oh, God. Jesus….I’m … I’m going mad. That’s it; I must be mad.”
He let his forehead fall against the cool, smooth surface for a few seconds, then the cleared his throat and squared his shoulders.
“Get a fucking grip, Watson,” he muttered to himself as he walked away with determined, even, military strides. “It’s only a mannequin for Christ’s sake.”
Still, all that month he made it a point to take a longer route home, past that same shop window, each evening.
He took note of the minor changes to its ensemble: a different tie, different cut or colour of the suit, a blue satin scarf with a faint stripe to it.
One day, though, he walked past the window and saw that it was gone.
“Gone,” he whispered to himself.
He put a hand on the glass once more.
“Why do you always leave me?”