“Thank you for your time and patience. Make sure to work on those exercises, and please, don’t be late next time.” If there will be a next time, I wanted to add. Warily, I watched as the skittish bloke bounded out of the room with one last over-enthusiastic farewell.
Heaving a loud sigh, I ran a hand down my bleary face. I can’t take this anymore. One more unhinged character and I think I’m really going to gouge my eyes out. Seeing as I was almost done with the day, I gathered up my papers and began to arrange them in my file cabinet.
As I was sorting out the last of the batch, I heard a ‘beep’ which I knew was for an e-mail. Please let it not be what I think it is. Begrudgingly, I trudged to my computer and opened the e-mail. I wasn’t even shocked at all this time as I read the message from the company. Of course, since when have fate and I ever been on good terms. I had one last patient for the day.
‘Tyler Evers; Age: 11’
That’s all? Just how am I supposed to work with this? Applying for the special care unit had proven to be one of the greatest mistakes I had ever made. I had assumed people would have been ‘cured’ of their problems so I wouldn't have to receive patients but as it turned out, I was gravely wrong.
Letting out a long breath, I began to prepare for the patient just as I heard a knock. “Come in,” I said. A pale brown-haired boy walked in and sat himself on my black couch without even as much as a greeting. I hope this goes fast.
“Hurry, I don’t have all day you know.” Perplexed, I looked around to find the source of the voice and my gaze landed on the boy who was looking at me with curious and expectant eyes. Did he just—
“Yes, I did, now come sit.” I just stared at the boy in front me in shock and then to the window. I should be able to get to there in three strides and quickly jump out.
“Oh, you’re too kind mister,” he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice as he spoke. “Please put aside your suicidal thoughts and let’s begin the session.”
Too stunned to speak, I sat down in my seat and regarded the boy with curious eyes. He simply shot me a wide innocent smile and I quickly composed myself. The quicker the better.
“Why are you here?” I asked in what I hoped was a steady voice. I think it was.
“It was don’t worry,” he said. At this point, I could only stare at him with a look of disbelief plastered on my face. “To answer your question, I was sent here. Now Mr.—”
“Payne,” I quickly said.
He just laughed. “I already knew. Anyway, Mr. Payne, why are you here?” He asked.
I stared at him confused. “What?” I questioned.
“And you’re supposed to be a therapist?” he asked coolly with a raised eyebrow.
“O-of course, I am,” I sputtered out quickly.
“So, answer the question, why are you here?” He tried again.
“I work here,” I replied.
Rolling his eyes and sighing, his gaze met mine again. “It’s obvious you work here. Okay, what did you want to grow up to be when you were younger?” He asked.
Curious to know what he was getting at, I answered. “An astronaut.”
Nodding his head, seemingly satisfied with my answer, he continued. “Why?”
“I’ve always had a fascination with the stars and the other heavenly bodies,” I answered, my mind in a jumbled mess.
“Interesting,” he noted. “Well, why didn’t you become one?” he asked. Is this an interrogation? His laugh brought me out of my stupor.
“What?” I asked.
“I asked you why you didn’t follow your dreams and become an astronaut, aside from the fact you had some ‘family issues’,” he said doing air quotes with his fingers when he said family issues.
The word flabbergasted would not even be close to describing how I felt in that moment. “How did you know that?” I asked warily.
He just shrugged. “Eh, I have my ways. Now, you’re avoiding my question.” Was I? “Why didn’t you follow your dreams?” He asked again.
Too stumped to actually comprehend anything again, I found myself responding. “I guess it’s because I dropped out from college, that’s why.”
“Interesting,” he responded. “Your familial problems or whatever were that bad?”
My head bobbed up and down on its own accord. “Yeah, I guess, it was very tough time and I needed to find a way to support my family.”
“Alright, but what made you think that was your responsibility? Is an eleven-year-old really asking me this? You’re still young, twenty-six I reckon,” he said. At that, my jaw dropped. He probably took a lucky guess, yeah that’s it. A very lucky guess.
“Think what you wanna,” I heard him mutter. “Answer the question,” he said again.
“I just felt responsible since I was the eldest son,” I found myself replying.
“Hmm, okay then,” he said while rubbing his chin. “What’s stopping you from achieving that dream now?
“I need money,” I replied immediately.
Nodding his head as though he was noting something to himself, he spoke again, “Why didn’t you try going back to school and looking for a side job at the very least? It’s not your fault your family is like this, so why let your own dreams be sacrificed?” he asked boldly.
I actually found myself pondering upon his words. “Well, honestly, that thought never came to me. I thought I had to be completely devoted to work to help them.” I responded truthfully.
“So, you used your psychology degree from your first year to get this job,” he said nodding his head in understanding. I can’t find it in me to understand him anymore. “Well, I’m glad we made progress. Think about what we discussed today alright? I’ll see you tomorrow.”
With those last words and a curt wave, he was out of the room. I found myself pondering over the whole interaction. Wow! How did I never think of this before? With a new found determination and a set mind, I began to pack up all my things. Goodbye haunting therapy sessions. Hello Antarctica!