Dr Grace sat on the front edge of his desk in a casual pose. “I’d like to talk a little about your background, home life, childhood — that kind of thing,” he announced.
Psychoanalysis, Kit thought resentfully.
“It says here, your father grew up in India, the son of an officer in the Indian Army. Your father volunteered and served in the last war in the Middle East, joining the Colonial Service in South Africa at the end of the war. Is that right?”
“Yes.” Kit did not elaborate on his father’s pacificism resulting from his war experiences or his break with his parents and brothers, nor did he attempt to explain his father’s commitment to doing something positive in the world. His father had gone to Africa because he considered it an ‘untainted’ continent, not yet mired in the intrigues and corruption that dominated India and the Middle East.
“And your mother was the daughter of an Anglican missionary to the Zulus.” Dr Grace paused and looked at Moran as if expecting him to add something. Kit refused to fall into that trap. Instead, he noted, “My grandfather was more than a missionary, sir. He had a PhD in education and believed education was the key to civilization. He was in the process of building a teachers’ college for Zulus when he was killed.”
“Killed? God heavens! What happened?”
“A motorcar accident. Nothing unusual in Africa. It gets very dark out in the bush and my grandfather’s car had poor headlights. Either some animal was sleeping in the road or ran out in front of him suddenly. In any case, he couldn’t brake in time and collided with it at a fairly high speed. The collision threw my grandmother clear out of the car, breaking her neck, while my grandfather was trapped in the driver’s seat and the steering wheel crushed his ribcage. His lung and heart were both punctured.”
“How frightful!” Dr Grace exclaimed with every appearance of sincerity.
“It was probably a hippo,” Moran told him clinically. “Most people don’t realize how fast they can move.”
“How old were you when this happened?”
“Oh, I was already sixteen.”
Dr Grace smiled faintly at that and remarked. “I see, already a mature man of world.” Kit said nothing, so Dr Grace insisted, “Still, it must have been a shock.”
“It was a bit — especially for my mother. She was devastated to lose both her parents at once and so suddenly.”
“Were you close to your grandparents?”
“No. They lived too far away. I really only knew them second hand, through my mother’s stories. Otherwise, they were a photo on the piano.” The photo had fascinated Kit as a child because it showed his grandfather much as God-the-Father was often pictured in Church art and children’s books: with long flowing white hair and a chest-long white beard. It also showed him standing beside a shyly smiling black woman, Kit’s grandmother.
“How would you characterize your relationship with your parents?” Dr Grace asked.
Kit understood now where the questions were leading: They were going to try to pin the blame for his LMF on his parents, or more specifically on his racially impure mother. Just like them, he thought resentfully, and answered belligerently. “I’m very close to both my parents.”
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