The end of a pen is clicked, once, twice, thrice. A tap of a shoe, a buzz of a fly. Two chairs fit well in this room. They fit very well.
“I see a dark tunnel for you. Unless you change your act, I’m afraid you’ll never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t you want to be a better person? I know you do,” she says.
He looks through this transparent glass of a woman. A perfectly polished surface constantly reflecting rehearsed responses at him. He hears her but doesn’t listen and continues to let his eyes wander up the walls of the stuffy room.
She waits for him to return but is aware that he wastes this time purposefully. Aging skin, dried pores and crinkles at the edge of her eyes. It’s just another day at the office and just another object to add to her grocery list of achievements… if she can achieve this.
Lead-heavy eyes finally settle on her and he sees her just the same. An obiect. A poor, ragged porcelain doll, was she; kept at the back of the splintered cupboard and only given to the bad children.
“Are you here with me?” an attempt to tug him from silent derailment.
He scrunches up his cheeks, compressing disgust into every facial crevice and finally lifts his chin, adjusts his posture and inches forward. “That’s the wrong metaphor,” a hoarse steady voice emerges.
“It’s the wrong bloody metaphor,” a pause after each word.
“You know the policy with language here,” an empty threat but she recognizes an odd tone to his voice.
“Then you’d better get yours intact.”
“I will not tolerate-“
He sits back, shaking his head, murmuring. “You’ll never see the light. Jeez”
“I’m here to help you. I’m not the enemy,” she assures. She needs to get ahead with this subject. This subject.
“Since when is ‘bloody’ a curse word? In yesterday’s session I swore like motherfu-“
“PLEASE!” she insists. She knows she must keep calm. An overt reaction on her account is a threat to professionalism and her budding reputation. But this one was a goddamn piranha and she’s on her last nerve.
“What’s the problem, illiterate? Can’t comprehend?”
A vague utterance falls from her cheap lipstick as she tries to reply.
“C-om-pri-endah,” he sniggers.
“We have been at this for over a year. Don’t you want to go back to school? Get that English major some day? See you friends again?” she asks. He doesn’t speak now and breaks eye contact. “You need my okay to get out of here so the least you could do is cooperate,” she adds, trying to good-cop-back-cop him. “Let me help you.”
“Don’t do that. Don’t you dare hurl some superficial shit!”
“Now calm down”
He gets up on his feet. “I’ve been stuck in this room forever! I don’t want to be here! Don’t you get it? I DON’T NEED YOU, ” he towers over her, his eyes dark and fuming and neck swollen with red angst.
Fear washes over her. “This is my job. I am here to help because I want to,”
“NO YOU’RE NOT! I DON’T CARE ANYMORE. CALL THE GUARDS CALL THEM!” he’s up in a flash and pacing to the door now.
“You have to control this. This is what I’ve been trying to teach you. I’m not going to call them! Now stop!” she screams… finally. She puts down her notes. This is not a session for notes.
He’s about to break the door but closes his eyes. He waits there for a second, sweat dripping from tightly held fists.
“There’s still time left, we can talk,” she reassures, now up on her feet, hoping he’ll turn to his seat. “You need to control the anger.”
He opens his eyes and turns back. His body is on fire. An exhale and a swallow. Holding his fists he walks back to the chair, sits. Elbows meet the knees and she simultaneously slowly sinks to her chair.
“I’m talking to my social worker. I want out.,” he says. Calm this time. “But I’m saying one last thing and leaving.”
He interrupts her before she can speak.
“We’re not enemies, you’re right about that. But I’ve been in this chair and you’ve been in that one for far too long. I think I know you and you think you know me. I’m just sad sod to fix and I give you a run for it.. just cause. There’s a moment, sometimes when I hope you will. But I know you won’t. I’m the druggie, the juvenile delinquent, the troublesome foster kid, the girl half-paralyzed from jumping off a roof. What had to go wrong in your life that made you a mechanic for human tragedies? I feed your moral satisfaction, your sigh of relief for ‘doing your bit’ for society.
Maybe if you didn’t compartmentalize me. Maybe if you realized that some people aren’t meant to be parents and some kids aren’t meant to be brought into this world but when that happens happens, it just happens. The root is the branch and you’re just a deluded temporary near-miss correction of a sick cycle.
So do me a favour when another me walks through that door tomorrow. Get out some Monopoly, a pack of cards, some beers. Don’t tell him it’s alright. Give him a smack and say “suck it up punk, you’re part of a larger problem”. One day that kid’s going to have another kid who’s going to see another you. So don’t give her some heartfelt bullshit by manipulating her into thinking she solved her own problems with her ‘feelings’. Look at him as a person, make her day a little more enjoyable, maybe petition for a ‘Parent Qualifications Act’. See us. ‘Cause after I walk outta here -you and me -we’re just tools again. I’m the problem, you’re the solution blah blah. Once again, We’re just two chairs that fit very well.”
She doesn’t glance at her watch. “I believe that’s all the time we have”.
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