Monday, September 17, 2012

Conversations Around the Water Cooler

Grey chairs huddle in a semi-circle around the room.  It smells stale in here as the water cooler and the air conditioner sagging in the window battle for bragging rights over the public radio announcer talking about some factoid of the Middle East.  I sit alone clutching my bag unsure of this day the same as I have sat feeling unsure about all the days that came before it.  The threat of feeling this way for all the days after it, weighs slightly heavier than I want.

I inspect the dissection of my therapist’s waiting area.  It was once a grand old home now chiseled into cold spaces and sterile pools patients can pour their anxiety.  I reconsider making my session….there is still time to book….he doesn’t know I am here, but then another patient comes in. There is a tension between us, a slight pause in the conversation he is having on his cell phone, before he sits down.  Our eyes meet for mere seconds which is just enough to be recognized on the streets of this small town; enough to cause an awkward passing down the cereal aisle at the supermarket.  We look away not wanting to know each other’s story.  It is just better that way.

My hands are curled tightly around the bag I bought while in England.  It reminds me of that day with mixed feelings surging from the fabric into my skin.  There are more mixed feelings in my head.  My hands and head are having a conversation without the use of my mouth as if I didn’t count.  I’m talking to myself again.  I’m answering too.  I hold in a laugh at the back of my tongue thinking about how crazy I am.  I am a cliché.  I am a child.  I am a frightened rabbit.  I am considering these sessions will be Catholicism’s coup over my heart and thoughts.  I will Hail Mary and Our Father my way to the crossroads.

I hear my name.  Who said that?  Did I say that?  Did I just ask myself a question and wait for an answer?

“Do you want coffee?” the therapist says poking his head around the corner.  I jump.

“It appears I don’t need any.”  I try to joke.  He gives me his best therapist-I-don’t-really-think-you-are-crazy smile.

I follow him to the room.  There is a couch.  I fight the urge to be another cliché.

Aleathia Drehmer

Published by Red Fez, Red Reader #1

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