The centrifugal force of words washed over her, swirled around her, made her dizzy. ‘But that’s what shrinks do’, she figured, watching with increasing numbness as the man’s lips kept moving, making words that increasingly seemed to dissipate and dissolve as they emerged into sound, ‘they talk and they talk and they talk until you barely know your own name anymore, and then they demand answers that you never had in the first place. And when you fail to answer, they’ll force an answer upon you, believing that they know all there is to know about you after reading a textbook. And at that point you’ve become too weakened by the sheer force of their words to even bother protesting.’
She thought of her childhood, as she was asked to do. But she didn’t see the connections she was told to look for. Rather, she saw glimpses of a world she could hardly believe had ever existed and didn’t feel like it held much connection to the present at all.
Sweet glimpses of herself gathering seashells, watering plants, jumping in rain puddles. Singing.
Sad glimpses of herself running away from the tears and the screaming, her mother’s furious face and foaming mouth that she didn’t understand what had caused – only knowing that she somehow got the blame.
Bittersweet glimpses of herself learning to pretend and lie since nobody cared anyway. The bottles she hid in her home. The scars she hid under her sleeves. The soothing calm of a whole bottle after work – the feeling of weightlessness. Not having to care anymore.
She thought of it all and understood less and less as she did so. But telling that to a complete stranger who seemed to have made up his conclusions in advance didn’t seem to make much sense.
She thought of all the people she thought was her friends, or hoped might become her friends. The people she grew up with. Today they were in the midst of careers and babies and living lives she didn’t understand while she felt like dissolving. She didn’t understand other people. She didn’t feel like pretending to understand them anymore. Illogical creatures, the lot of them. But what did logical thinking ever bring her, besides a free ticket to the torture that was this room, and this talking machine sitting across from her, still moving his lips.
‘Did you have a good childhood?’
‘Sometimes, I guess.’
‘Did you have friends in school?’
‘Some, I guess.’
‘How do you feel about your family?’
‘That’s difficult to say.’
‘What do you want in life?’
A life. A goal. Meaning. Help. Guidance.
But since nobody ever offers me that…
Peace. To close my eyes and never open them again. To sleep and never wake up.
But you were offered help?
No, I was only offered words.