The Tin Man

He's lost Rachel, not exactly his girlfriend but she was his lover, and found out she was the mother of his child; a child he'll never know now. He's been beaten up by Rachel's violently devastated husband, had the whole department gossiping about him, and I haven't heard anyone direct a word of sympathy toward him all day.

Can't they see he's hurting? I know as well as anyone that Patrick is not the easiest person in the world to get along with. He usually doesn't seem like he even deserves sympathy, but today, one look into his eyes showed his pain. Most people haven't bothered to get that close to him though, but I did.

I think I've just sighted the lesser-spotted Real Patrick Spiller, and guess what? He has feelings after all.

No, that's not fair on him, there have been moments when I've seen a crack in that godforsaken armour of his before but he usually goes out of his way to cover it with even more wisecracks or plain rudeness. That moment in my car though, that was the real him I'm sure.

I've never seen him like that before, and I have a suspicion that very few people ever have. It's hard to explain what I saw, sadness, grief, guilt, and something else, doubt perhaps. He seemed so unsure if he loved Rachel or not, but then I wonder just how much experience he's had of that particular emotion.

And maybe I shouldn't even be thinking this, but I liked what I saw.

I didn't like seeing him crying particularly, that's not the point, the point is that I saw something genuine from him at long last. Ever since I met the great Dr Spiller I've had the impression that his arrogance was a way of overcompensating for something, probably that underneath he's really quite unsure of himself. Not as a doctor, but as a person.

It's something I've seen plenty of times before on the battlefields. Nineteen-year-old boys sent out to fight, coping with the pressure by turning on each other, picking scraps, calling names. They are soldiers and they've been told to be brave, but in reality they are children, away from all that's familiar, seeing death for the first time right up close. Thankfully, they realise soon enough that they are all in the same position and form bonds with each other. I suppose the difference between them and Patrick is that he doesn't have anyone to form that bond of understanding with him.

That's why that moment when I looked into his eyes and saw the hurt in them, pure and undisguised, I felt like shouting 'breakthrough!'. Maybe he'll form that bond with me?

I can't quite explain it but he intrigues me. He's a handsome man, a brilliant doctor but it's like something inside him got broken a long time ago and instead of it mending naturally he's just put up all these barriers to stop it from happening again. If only I knew what, I could try to help him fix it.

Oh listen to me! Amateur psychologist in full flow, that's me. He'd probably never speak to me again if thought I was analysing him like this. I wouldn't blame him either, come to think of it.

But I've just never found myself so inexplicably drawn to anyone like this before. His face dances through my thoughts when I least expect it. I want to understand what goes on behind those attractive scowling features of his. I want to be let in on his secrets, if only he'll trust me.

Well, tonight might be the night for that. That's if he hasn't given up waiting for me to get out of the bath already! I know now that the tin man has a heart; maybe tonight he'll let me see it for myself…


The End

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