Dr. Hazel Maria Cooper
My blood started heating by reading the nameboard outside the consulting room. My identity changed just in a couple of days without my approval. One week back, when I used to see the board with my name Dr. Hazel Maria Mathews, I felt proud of myself as it is a name earned through years of hard work. But now I feel like I am destroyed when I read my name Hazel Maria Cooper. The nurse stood outside the room, opened the door with the utmost respect and greeted me.
“Good morning Dr Cooper”
I am shocked to hear this name from her mouth because she is the one who used to treat me as a friend and call me by my nickname Ria.
“Amy, you know everything. Don’t call me by that name”, I said.
“Sorry, but I can’t call you as I did in the past. You know how much I need this job. I can’t risk it just by calling your name”, Amy exclaimed.
I sighed in pain, but I know she can’t risk her job. I feel helpless, as I never felt in my entire life. I thought about how much I loved going to the hospital. I was a lively person full of happiness and energy. But today I feel hopeless and frustrated sitting in the very same consulting room.
I called Amy and asked if there were any patients outside. She said that there was no one as I was on leave for several days and because I hadn’t informed the hospital that I would come back today, they hadn’t given any appointments. So, I decided to take a leave today and tell Amy not to give any appointments for today. As I began to take my bag and leave, I heard a soft knock on the door.
“Please, come in,” I answered.
Dr. Louis Patrick, who is a leading neurologist and owner and director of the hospital, came in with other colleagues of mine. Each one of them was holding a bouquet of flowers of a variety of colours. Dr. Patrick greeted me and everyone handed over the bouquet one by one. Each one of my colleagues greeted me as Mrs Cooper and not Hazel.
“Welcome Mrs Cooper. We are all delighted to see you back. It’s an honour to work with you.”
My cheeks became red as blood started shooting into my face because of anger and frustration. I wanted to shout at them, but I couldn’t. I feel so helpless and shattered. Where is Hazel that I know? Have I changed? No, it’s not me who changed but the people around me. How could just a name change others'perspectives on me? This is absurd. How could I be in a place with people who couldn’t identify me? In the last 24 years of my life, I never thought that one day I would lose my identity in a matter of a few days, or should I say, it just took an elevator journey to change my identity.
Suddenly, a tall figure entered the room without any notice. His aura was so powerful that I stood up from my chair unknowingly. He was tall with broad shoulders and stiff muscles. He had a face with a perfect shape and deep-sea blue eyes under those thick eyebrows. His eyes were so deep that he had the power to look through the other person. I don’t know why, but my heart started throbbing when seeing those eyes again. I first saw those eyes one week back in that dark elevator. Here stood the man who had changed my identity- Mr. Daniel Stuart Cooper.
He slowly walked inside the room and got closer to me. Everyone made way for him. He came and put his hands around me and took me into a tight hug and placed a soft kiss on my cheeks. My face became red at his touch. I was shocked to see his action. I wondered why I was blushing at his touch. He is the one who I hate the most in this world.
“Hey sweetheart, you should have told me that you want to work again in this hospital. I should remind you that you are now Mrs Cooper and have no need to work. But as I can see that this place is so close to you, let's make it official."
I didn't understand the meaning of his words, but pulled back from him. I held back from his embrace but he held me tight and put his hand on my lower back and faced Dr. Patrick and asked him in a cold voice.
“Are the papers ready, Mr. Patrick?”
Dr. Patrick lowered his head and replied in a low voice “Yes Mr. Cooper” and handed him a brown file. Daniel turned and faced me.
“Sweetheart, this is one of your wedding gifts.”
He gave me the folder. I opened it and found the papers of the hospital which were now in my name. I read it again which clearly stated that the hospital is now in the name of Mrs. Hazel Maria Cooper. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I am now the owner of this hospital. I stood there perplexed, without knowing whether to laugh or cry. My heart is throbbing because I don’t want this to happen. I didn’t know what to say. My whole world has been changed. I lost my identity. I have lost Hazel, who used to be the liveliest person in this hospital.
“Come honey, let me take you to your new office”. Daniel pulled me with him out of the room. He led me to the elevator to go to the top floor where there is the director's office. I read the nameboard outside the office.
Dr. Hazel Maria Cooper
He pushed open the door and led me into the director's office. I had come here before, but the interiors have changed now. It looks more elegant and classier than before. At the centre there is a huge desk with a revolving chair probably made of high-quality wood and there was a name plate with my name. On one side near the window there is a sofa set with a high back which reminds me of the royal throne. An elegant coffee table matching the sofa stood in the middle. Curtains on the windows now seemed royal with a combination of golden and red colours. Wall paint has also changed. It is now sunlight yellow with brown borders. There is an expensive carpet on the floor and stepping on it gives the impression of stepping on a cushion.
I silently followed him up to the desk which bears my name on the nameboard. He took me behind the desk and motioned me to sit on the chair. I hesitated to do so. So, he held me by the hand and made me sit on the chair. He stood back and silently watched me. Suddenly, he came to me and pulled me out of the chair and he himself sat on it. He, again with his eyes, motioned me to sit on his lap. I stood perplexed. Suddenly, he caught my hand and pulled me to him and made me sit on his lap. Now I was sitting on his lap sideways and looking into his eyes. Without further ado, he kissed me. This time it is a soft and smooth kiss. It is so intense that I am losing myself and am about to kiss him back and, at the same time, I remember the sorrows and suffering I have been in for the last two weeks which injected an urge to pull him back and release myself from his hold. Anger boiling inside thinking he had forcefully taken my second kiss also and I shouted at him.
“How dare you kiss me without my permission?”
I saw a devilish smirk on his face. He said tauntingly.
“I don't need your permission as you are my property. I possess you. I can do anything with you I like.”
“You are disgusting. I am a free individual. No one can own me. I am not material.” I said defensively.
“Sorry dear, you yourself have given me permission. You have submitted yourself. It is clearly stated in our marriage contract,” he explained, and took some papers from the inner pocket of his suit and gave them to me.
I took the paper with trembling hands and read the contract. On the second page I read the third clause which stated that by signing this contract I am giving myself as a property to Mr. Daniel Stuart Cooper and he can do anything and everything for me. My eyes drifted to the next clause, which again gave me a hard blow. According to the clause, I can never claim for a divorce unless he wishes to do so. My heart nearly collapsed reading the next clause which stated that I could never disobey Mr. Cooper or else he will have complete authority to punish me as he wishes.
I stood with open eyes and a broken heart because it was my little brother who had made this contract on behalf of me. I trusted him with my life and gave him the authority to make this contract. I am standing here awestruck with the copy of my marriage contract which I signed without reading it believing my only brother. I could see that he intentionally included the clause in favour of Mr. Cooper and excluded each one of the clauses demanded by me. My brother had betrayed me for his bright future. Standing here, I regret, for the first time, being his sister. I regret the moment when I decided to visit my sister at her office. I regret the decision to take elevator number 3.