Part four of a novella series
She’s half an hour late. I’ve been sitting in my office waiting, going over yesterday’s session, making notes. I feel as though I’m really starting to understand her condition. All the past psychologists just passed her off as psychotic, sociopathic because they didn’t take the time to try and feel for her. She has depression, that’s evident, I write, borderline personality disorder, slightly. Confused as to where she fits in with her family. Not exactly unheard of with her age-group. Her obsession with control is damaging, to herself and those around her. Feelings of self-control are mixed with the want to not have to feel. Can’t make sense of her emotions so resorts to mind-altering behaviour. Sex, drugs and alcohol are what she finds comfort in.
She’s now forty-five minutes late. Without really taking the time to think about it, I dial Mrs. Rosenberg. I let it ring for a few minutes, not giving up before someone answers the phone. I hear a voice I have not heard before.
“Oh, Hello. This is Dr. Harrington, Micha’s psychiatrist.”
“Oh, yes. Hello Doctor.” I can hear crying in the background. Screaming almost.
“Is Mrs. Rosenberg there?”
“Yes she is, but, I’m Mr. Rosenberg. My wife can’t exactly come to the phone right now.”
“Oh, ok. Well, see I don’t know if you know but Micha’s is quite late for her appointment today.”
“Yes we know,” he utters in a rather ominous tone. “Nathaniel died last night.”
“Oh! I am so sorry.” I freeze, unable to process the information. “How did it happen?” I hear myself asking.
“Car accident.” I realise now that tone, is one of pure pain. My mind starts to race; I picture how I would feel if anything was to ever happen to Sam. I can’t even contemplate those feelings. “It has really affected my wife.”
“I’m sure. I am truly sorry for your lose.”
“I won’t bother you any longer.” I slowly put down the receiver, and stare at the door. What they must be going through. What Micha must be going through. I hope she is ok.
The phone rings. I don’t wait for Tina to answer, my mind on auto-pilot.
“Hello?” I say, trying to sound as professional, and as calm as I can just hearing news such as this.
“Dr. Harington? It’s Mr. Rosenberg.”
“I know this is unheard of, but are you able to help us, do us a very great favour”
“Well, I…If you would like to come in and see me yes I would very much like to help. I think a family grievance session may help everyone, especially Micha. I’m sure she is devastated. I know how close they were.”
“Yes, yes. Well actually we were hoping you would help us find her.”
“I don’t quite understand. Is she not at home? Does she know?”
“Oh yes she is aware of the news. She was at home, when we found out. We were in shock, and thought that she had gone upstairs. But when I went up to check on her, she was not there. And her phone is just ringing, she won’t answer. I drove around trying to find her, but did not want to leave my wife for too long. She has not taken the news very well. You understand.”
“Yes, I see. But I didn’t really see what he was asking me to do. “You want me to go and find Micha?”
“I know that is not what is expected of you”
“No it really isn’t” Would I be breaking a rule, getting too involved? “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you so much Doctor.” And with that he hangs up the phone.
What have I just let myself in for? Agreeing to go all over London to find her. She could be anywhere. I search my notes a telephone number. Type it into my phone and hit save; Micha.
“Tina! Tina, cancel the next appointment if I’m not back in time. It is only Mr. Harris, he will be ok. I’m going out.” I rush out the door, before she even has the time to answer. Almost run down the stairs and shut the door behind me. Facing out into my little street, where do I look? I head in the direction of the underground station, thinking that a map may help me focus my thoughts. I go through my phone, and find her number and press dial. It rings but there is no answer. By this time I have walked to few minutes it takes to get to the station. I stand still, unsure of what to do, where to go. I dial again. Again it rings nothing.
“Micha, this is Tom, Dr. Harrington. I understand that you must be devastated at this time, but your parents are very worried about you. They need you to go home. You all need to be together at a time like this. Please call them, or call me. Just get in contact with someone, so we know that you are ok.” I head down into the station. It is still, calm, before the storm that occurs at five o’clock. There are only a few tourists staring blankly at the underground map. Green park; it’s not somewhere a teenager would go, unless you live off daddy’s credit card. Camden! She has mentioned before. I board the escalator down into the platform.
Rushing around on the underground is not going to help me find her. Rushing underneath the life of it all, speeding past the stops on mechanic wheels; I’m missing out on where she could actually be. She won’t be hiding down here. I go over the sessions I have had with Micha, pin point my thoughts to places. Camden is where she would go for gigs. She had mentioned how she felt walking around London was calming, especially South Bank. I change my direction and head towards the Jubilee Line. Again it’s quite, unlike my thoughts. The constant fear that what I am doing is wrong, mixed with my want, need to find her. What would Kate say? What would Tina think? How I would feel if Sam died, that I would want anyone and everyone to do what they could to help me.
I exit embankment station, and feel the unlikely sunshine on my face. As Londoners we tend to forget that the sun exists, during the winter months. However, the sunshine is not backed-up by warmth; it’s freezing and the wind is blowing in my face causing my grimaced face to widen. I cross over the bridge and stop half way, looking out into the London Skyline. I know she is out there somewhere. The flatness of London allows you to see the beautiful bricks glisten. If only it would let me find Micha.
I walk along the river, pass the BFI, pass the National Theatre, walking slow, then fast all the way to Blackfriars Bridge. I start to walk up the steps towards it, see a pub and walk in.
“Have you seen a young girl, brown hair, blue eyes, dressed, erm dressed scruffy in here today?” I ask the bar tender.
“Yes we have.”
“About twenty of them, this is a student pub Mr., what do you expect?” I turn, a little defeated and leave the door, but not before scanning the room for her face.
As I cross the bridge I feel as though I have been transported to a different city. It is so different here, than the London you find in Mayfair. The sun is blocked out by the tall, daunting buildings. The tourists have disappeared and business men and women are left, on their blackberries, Iphones, listening to Ipods and even the brave ones reading the Financial Times as they get to wherever they are going in a hurry. Some smile at me, others frown and there are others that have no expression at all. Micha’s face is printed in my mind as I walk the short distance to St Paul’s Cathedral. I remember there was a pub she mentioned to me, where she had gone with Freddie. There are so many tourists, so many restaurants, and more pubs. As I walk the cobbled streets I try her phone again, but get the same response, nothing. One looks promising, but it is full of working men and women, enjoying their lunch. Another is packed and so I enter, but the bar man hasn’t seen her and there is no sign of her in the toilets.
“Look miss, you have had too much.”
“Fuck off! I haven’t had enough! Let mm-me back in.”
“Sorry can’t do that.” Turning around I see a bar man ushering out a young girl, but she doesn’t look like Micha, her hair is shorter.
“Oh come on, pl-please,” she begs, whimpers. I start to walk on over and realise that the bar man is holding what looks like Micha’s bag, something I would not have noticed if it wasn’t for Tina’s jealousy of it. I run over to her, take the bag from the bar man and put my arm around her.
“Tom?” she says, in a state of utter shock, or is it the vodka that is distinctly on her breath?
“Yeah, it’s me. Come on Micha, let’s go over here.” I start to move her in the direction away from the door, but she collapses in my arms, hysterically crying. I move her again, but we don’t get very far before she falls to the floor.
“He’s gone. Actually dead. He left mm-me!”
“It was an accident,” I say as I sit down next to her, “it wasn’t his fault, he didn’t leave you, Micha.” I try to stay clear of clichés, knowing that they will not be of use in a time like this.
“What the fuck can I do now, wh-wh who am I going to st-talk to. I needed’ed him!”
“You can talk to me, Micha. It’s what I’m here for.”
“You get paid to listen to mm-me! That doesn’t fucking count!”
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean…”
“He died, Tom he’s dead!” I realise this state she’s in, isn’t going to do anyone any good.
“Look, let me get you some food, or water. Do you want some water?”
“Vodka, I want Vodka!”
“I don’t think you should drink anymore today Micha.”
“Why? Because you’re already quite drunk, and I know it feels like it’s making it better, but it’s not. In fact it’s just going to make things worse in the long run.
“What fucking long ru-run, there won’t be a long ru-run. I don’t want a run. No ru-run!” I realise she isn’t talking about running.
“Ok, Ok. Stay here a minute and I’ll go get you a drink and something to eat, ok?”
“Ok,” I agree with her.
I order a glass of tap water and packet of crisps, but when I leave the pub, her bag is sitting of the floor, without Micha. I hear stumbling; she has tried to walk away but failed. Grabbing her bag, I walk over to her.
“See? No more vodka.” I hand her the water, but she only takes a sip and holds out her hand for me, gesturing me to join her on the floor. I hand her the packet of crisps as I sit down. Her facial expression changes, from one of distraught pain, to sadness.
“Nathaniel died Tom,” she whispers as if telling me for the first time.
“I know, I know.” She moves closer to me, and takes my arm, putting it around her. At first I’m reluctant, but she is a patient in need. I must help in any way I can.
She turns to look at me. She has mascara down her face, her nose is runny but she still looks beautiful, innocent.
“You cut your hair?” I ask, noticing the un-even chunks missing from her long, not short shaggy hair.
“Yeah. I didn’t want to recognise who I saw in the mirror. Is, is that stupid?”
“No, not exactly Micha. Wanting to change your appearance is a form of acceptance, a way of trying to deal with change.”
“But I don’t want to have to deal with it,” she says realising finally that I am here to help, for her to talk to, “I don’t want him to be dead.”
“I know. Nor do your parents. I think you should go home and see them. Do you want me to take you there?”
“Not really,” she says as she looks into my eyes, needing me. Kate has never looked at me like this before. Micha moves a little closer to me, I smile to reassure her but she kisses me. Shocked, I move back, just looking at her for a few seconds. She is so lost, so beautiful. And without thinking, without knowing, I lean in, and kiss her.