The therapist that my doctor recommended checked his iPhone again.
His office was long and narrow, like a short hallway with furniture. I sat on a vinyl couch. The walls were the color of Pepto-Bismol -- I suppose to soothe his patients. The pink walls clashed with the earthy landscape painting behind his desk. There's a nice rug at my feet, some kind of designer carpet, and I sort of felt sorry for it, stuck in this hideous room.
The therapist was a spindly man with meaty hands. He folded into his chair like a marionette. He wore a strange sweater with a giant smiling face of a puppy dog embroidered over his entire torso area. If I had seen him on the street, I would have laughed, but in this room he looked right at home, whereas I felt ridiculous in my khakis and white polo.
The chirping of birds outside was muffled by the two layers of glass on the large window that didn't open, probably to keep patients from jumping out. I finished ranting, and waited for him to look at me, wondering if he was even listening at all. He squinted at his iPhone while swiping on its touch screen with his stubby thumb. I looked out the window at the slow moving clouds, and for a second, I couldn't believe how hopeless everything felt.
"Sorry," he said, putting his iPhone down on his lap. "Going back to - what did you call it - catfishing?"
"When was the last time you spent an entire day without going online?"
"That sounds depressing," I said.
"Yea," I said. "Not going online."
"Why are you always online?"
"I don't know. That's why I'm depressed."
He looked at me for what felt like a long time. He raised his hand and I thought he was going to check his iPhone again. But instead, he reached over his desk to grab something. "You have to get out and start interacting with people -- socialize," he said, his head bobbing as if on a spring, his thick hand canvassing his desk blindly. "Go on some dates. Get a roommate."
"A roommate?" I blinked.
His hand finally found it - a note pad and a pen. A small grunt escaped his tightly pressed lips as he snatched the pen and pad in a single swoop. "Listen, take this to Grace at the end of the hall," he scribbled and ripped out a page, his head still bobbing. "It's Vicodin. This will help. Take one in the morning and one at night."
He handed me the piece of paper and I felt a twinge of hope, like a tiny pierce of pleasure in my gut. I held my eyes on him, blinking a lot, as if I had just woken up.
"And here's our next appointment," he wrote on the back of his business card and stood up quickly. I jumped up to meet him.
"Thanks," I forced a smile that came to my face easier than I had expected.
"You'll be alright soon enough," he said, and I believed him. I walked out of his office believing that my life might change, and I would finally be someone.
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The Online Profile of a Serial Killer (2016 Watty Award Winner)Mystery / Thriller
This story is true. It's about the man who murdered my sister, a man I discovered reading through his blog. Posting it here is the only way I can stop him. ***** My name is Ian. I...