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Moving On

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The interview was brief. Dr Gray was a busy man.

'Well, I understand you're off to great things. We shall miss you, Harvey. Good luck.'

'Thank you, sir. I hope so.'

A nod, and it was over: his whole adult career, disappeared as if it had never been.

Alec thought about Gray's last words as he gathered his few personal possessions into a briefcase. We shall miss you, he had said, but of course he didn't mean that. We will miss your skill, we will miss the extra pair of hands – but Alec Harvey, the man? He doubted it.

He had not even begun to think whether he would miss the hospital. He had barely had time to think about the new post, whether it was a step up, or a step down, or something so far removed from everything he knew here that it was not even comparable. He knew Johannesburg only from his brother's letters; when he had accepted the post, he had not needed anything more. It was half a world away, that was enough.

Nurse Philpott passed his open door, and smiled at him as she passed. He would miss Nurse Philpott. And Rivers, and Billing, and – no, best not to think about Lynn; at least, not as more than a colleague. The hospital... He felt a surge of affection for the whole building, still standing proud. Milford had been lucky, so far; he prayed it would keep so. Keep in touch. But nobody would. And he would never find out whether old Mrs Beadle would recover. He thought she would; she had that kind of spirit...

Enough, he thought, as he closed his office door for the last time. He did not bother locking it. He would leave this place, would leave everything, would go to Johannesburg. And every day he would remember it a little less clearly, and in the end the sharpness would all be gone, and a new picture would have resolved itself, bright and vivid, in the place of English smoke and rain.