Third part in a novella series …
The underground is strangely quiet this morning; there are still the busy type of personalities rushing around and all the other personality types, trying to get to their lives, but I didn’t have to wait for four trains to pass before I could board one. Maybe it’s a sign; a good day. I exit the train at Green Park, it always smells that little bit nicer than other London train stations, and walk the five minutes to my practice. It almost doesn’t feel like London, less dirt, less noise. It feels more like Paris with English subtitles. I turn the corner and notice there’s someone sitting on my steps. Great the tramps have established a bit of class. As I get closer I notice she looks sad, she’s never looked sad before. Crazy, stoned, maybe even hysterical but never sad.
“Tom!” she runs up to me, wraps her arms around me. Is this a violation of patient-therapist conduct?
“I didn’t know where else to go, is it ok? I know I’m a lil’ bit early but…”
“It’s fine. Come on up” it’s not fine, what are you saying. I’ve got a lot of stuff I needed to do before our appointment today. Well guess that’s out the window. I fiddle around in my pocket but she won’t let go, her arms are still around me.
“I just need to err, get the keys.”
“Oh, sorry yeah.”
She slowly releases me and is following my every movement. She doesn’t say another word as we walk the stairs up to the third floor. As I let us in she rushes past me and sits straight in my office. Tina is late; usually she is here before I am. But today, I’m glad she doesn’t get to see how unprofessional I can be. I take my time, sorting out Tina’s desk, grabbing anything that might be of some importance, before I join Micha in my office.
I see she has made herself comfortable; sitting cross legged in my big leather chair, picking at the varnish on her nails, leaving it to fall on to my floor. I get my notes out, not that I need to be reminded of the case. Micha has been seeing me for about a month now, and not much seems to be happening in the way of recovery, or even in the direction of it. Every time she just tells me about the night before. How wasted she got, how she got kicked out – mostly justified I believe – who she was with, what they took and sometimes she even lets me in on who she fucked. Not that I really wanted to know these details. Especially as I have come to find her rather graphic in her story telling. We have not even begun to discuss her childhood, despite the amount of times I’ve tried. One time we spent half a session talking about a pink leather jacket she had just bought, how she knew it was too expensive, that her father would definitely not approve, but how that made it all the more attractive. How she went about stealing her father’s credit card and the looks she got when using it. I may in fact, now know how the mind of an eighteen year old works when shopping but of the mind that exists in Micha, I’m unsure I, or in fact anyone will ever know. The only conclusion I have come up with is that she is extremely intelligent. Any time she so much as suggests something that would in any way let me in, give me a clue as to her diagnosis; she changes the subject and starts to talk about empty emotions. I have put her on duloxetine, a subtle anti-depressant that should mellow out her erratic behaviour, although I don’t think it has, due to the stories she tells me. I also gave her a prescription for diazepam, in case she felt anxious, but again I think she has just misused it.
“So how you feeling today Micha?”
“Like dying.” I find myself wondering whether she’s being sarcastic or not, as usually she is, but by the look on her face I don’t quite think that she is.
“I met this guy, the other night, his name is Freddie. We seemed to hit it off straight away. He is so hot! Got that rugged look going on and he wears the coolest sun glasses. We spent like three days straight together; he took me to the zoo. Yeah I know that seems lame but I loved it. Then we went to a pub near St Paul’s cathedral and talked about all kinds of things. I think I really like him.” She looks out the window, trying to dismiss the fact that she may have portrayed some kind of real emotion.
“Anyways, last night he couldn’t come out, said he had some work or revision, something to do that meant he couldn’t go to The Cribs gig. So I went anyway, I love The Cribs and other people would be there that I knew. The Cribs were wicked, and we were having a great time. That guy Matthew was there, the one I told you about.” The guy she was referring to was the boy she had lost her virginity to, at the tender age of fourteen in a park. I smile, knod and give her clause to continue.
“Well I was fucked, took some pills and drunk about six JD and cokes when he started kissing me. It felt all too familiar, maybe safe … I dunno well yeah we ended up in the girls’ toilets and Freddie walked in and saw us”
“Fucking! I mean he said he wasn’t gonna’ be there. It’s not like we were going out. I ran after him and we ended up having this huge fight outside. He called me a slut, and I guess I can see why he would think that.” I try not to show any emotion on my face, so as to show her I don’t think that. Not that I do, who am I to judge.
“But he called me ugly, like on the inside. That’s the part that’s meant to count right? Says that I use my outside beauty to draw people in, manipulate them. That I thrive on my problems, without them I’m screwed. He said that he did like me, cared for me but that it doesn’t mean shit to me; that everyone cares about me, even my parents and that I’m just too stupid to see it. That I’ll never succeed because I don’t care or try hard enough…and it all just made me feel sad, like really fucking sad.” I didn’t really know what to say. It seemed to me that this eighteen year old boy, Freddie, had figured out in three days, what I had failed to accomplish in a month. Maybe the only way to get to know Micha, is to get physically close to her.
“Have you felt like this before?”
“Yeah, all the time, why do you think I like to get so fucked? I hate being in control, it means I have to feel these feelings. Feel sad, depressed, like I just want to fucking end it all… I mean I do try sometimes and see it from my parents point of view but then it hurts and I go out get out of control and I feel better … well for a little while. The drugs and the drink, they take over and give me a rest from being me, they take me away from myself. You’d think it would let me see myself from the outside, so I could realise what I am doing but it doesn’t. I see me and well, I hate me.” I try as quick as I can to jot down all that she’s saying, pick out the emotions and translate them to paper, but the more my pen moves the less she talks. I can see she’s starting to feel uncomfortable, that this era of openness about her is not something she’s used to. So I stop trying to analyse it, put my pen down and just listen. Something I doubt anyone has done for her for a long time.
“It’s like, you know that saying, seize the day, and well I’ve always believed that. I try to live everyday because tomorrow I might be dead. I’m not afraid of death, I don’t necessarily want to die … all the time.” She smiles nervously and I want to hug her, something I’ve never felt before, for any of my patients and I’ve heard my fair share of sad stories.
“One thing I’ve always wanted to do before I die though. Find out what it feels like to kill someone. I know that sounds crazy and really dumb but I have a feeling that I actually will. The person I think I’ll end up killing, is me. I know if I did die, people would care. But if I carry on living, will anybody even notice? Like my family, yeah they love me and all but they don’t see me. Nate is probably the only one that I can talk to, but I can’t talk to him about things like this. He tries to act all strong but he’s not, he’s really sensitive. This stuff would kill him. Freddie got one thing wrong, I do care about Nate. He manages to be in both worlds though. Like the other day, I woke up and it was four o’clock so I went down and they were all smiling, laughing, acting like a real family, I walk in and it stops. No smiling, no laughing, they all just looked at me. Their eyes full of well something I couldn’t read…”
“Thomas, Thomas, your 11 o’clock is here.” Shit! Is that the time. When did Tina get here? Fuck, just when we were starting to get somewhere.
“Ok Micha, today was good, I feel as though we are really starting to get somewhere but we are going to have to call it a day. Why don’t you go home and try and spend a little bit of time with your family today, I am sure they would appreciate it.” I stand to give her the hint, but she seems reluctant. Slowly she rises and heads for the door. She reminds me of a puppy that’s just been told off, with its tail between its legs.
“Look, how about you come and see me tomorrow, I’ll try and fit you in and get Tina to ring you with the time.”
“Uh, ok. Thanks.” With that she’s gone. I look out the window to try and she her but before I catch a glimpse Tina is in my office.
“What time did she get here?”
“Early. Where were you, late night?
“You can say that. It won’t happen again. I’m really sorry.” Usually I would be on her case but I just didn’t seem to care.
“Nah, its fine, don’t worry. But Tina?”
“Can you try and fit Micha in tomorrow, I don’t mind if all I get for lunch is fifteen minutes, it’s just really important. I think I’m starting to get somewhere with her.” Tina goes to leave but whispers something I don’t quite hear.
“I’m sure you are…”