Let us pretend that everything is the way it should be. That life happens exactly as planned. It is odd for us to imagine life in such terms. We are birthed into this stale cone, filled with spoiled ice cream, dipped in rancid chocolate. This marvelous thing we call life. This beautiful thing we call existence.
People write entire books about bettering your life.
These cardboard encrusted triple stitched gobs of changing you. Alter your appearance to be attractive, they say. Enhance your personality to better interact, they say. Trade your soul for fame, they say.
“Tell me something about yourself that bothers you,” says the pudgy therapist of I don’t know what. The wrinkles of her face like canyons mapping the outline of her mouth, nose, eyes. I get lost in the entirety of her appearance, in the hair that peeks out of her nostrils.
She says again. “Come on, it’s easy, just open up.”
She smells used, that deep aroma of stale cigarettes and cheap perfume. She strums her hand on the cherry-wood veneer and chews wintergreen mint gum. “I see a great deal of pain in your past, pain that seems too terrible to resurface. It is handcuffing you, crippling you.”
I didn’t even care enough to roll my eyes. I hadn’t cared in who knows how long.
It becomes apparent that everything is misplaced in the mash of things. The fan whirls. The clock ticks. The copy machine hums. The room stops swirling as my chair loses momentum. Bill’s forehead peeks around the carpet wrapped particle board.
“You okay man?” He re-positions his glasses tempestuously, as if he couldn't quite see me. Bill is the empirical acceptance of subpar genes and years of building a foundation apart from exercise. Bill has a wife and two kids that he secretly loathes. Bill is in dire need of change, of rebirth.
I look at him indifferently, wondering if he applied the tongue in cheek method while dressing this morning. I thought about answering sardonically, but the meaning would be lost on him, like trying to explain satire to a pigeon.
Feet stomp off in the opposite direction, towards the boss’s office. I force down the rest of the day shard by shard.
Back in the therapist’s office she says, “It is okay to talk about what happened. It is not your fault. It was never your fault.” Her chin jiggles as she nods her head.
I would have laughed but for the sedatives.
She sighs through wire framed glasses and pushes a tuft of lumpy black hair behind her ear. “These sessions are required, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get something from them. Reflection? Fulfillment? Closure?” Her eyes try to decipher mine. “I can’t help you unless you help yourself.”
Bill comes back with Jim, the boss. “Is everything okay?” he asks me. His hair is parted to the left in that eighties car salesman way. He wears a navy blue suit he is too fat for, and drowns himself in Old Spice after every shower.
I watch as he grabs the phone and dials the number by memory. There is no answer, but then again there wouldn’t be. He sports a confused look as he hangs up the receiver. “Your wife isn’t home?”
It was a statement in the form of a question. And here I thought I was the evil one.
“Accepting it is the first step, after that you can move on with your— well you can move on.” She replaces the wintergreen with Nicorette, cycling the two to avoid losing that tingly feeling. “I know what you are facing. I know it can be daunting. That is why this is all so important.”
I thought about stepping into oncoming traffic.
By now the entire floor is packed with people staring at me. Whispers dance across the room as I resume spinning in my chair. “Listen … going … be okay. Help … coming.” Jim is trying to comfort me, but I only catch every other word as I spin off into a torrent.
Phones ring in the background. Crowds gather. Nausea ensues.
She is getting frustrated. Her nostrils flare in pig-like elegance. “We are required to sit here for the full sixty minutes. It would go by much faster if you would participate.” She is tapping her foot now.
Paramedics rush through the room, dodging copy machines and darting through waist high hallways of corporate individualism. They say things like, “Get back everyone,” and “Make way,” before they surround me with medical bags and breathing machines.
A young paramedic looks me over, moves my clothes around, checks my pulse. He moves a pen light in and out of my eyes. His colleague has to hold the chair so I will stop spinning in it.
“Just explain to me what happened that day.” It seems like a simple enough request. I open my mouth, but nothing comes out. It is like the feeling of paralysis present those few seconds after you wake from a deep sleep.
The paramedic seems confused. He looks me over again to be sure. “It’s not his blood.”
Perhaps I would have told her the story in its entirety, but none of it mattered, least of all to her. This court appointed thought analysis paid for by you and yours. She closes her notebook with a grunt and looks at me incredulously. “Even now in the face of all that is to come, you remain silent.” She struggles out of her chair and storms out of the room.
Jim, my affluent boss, grabs the phone again and hits redial. Concern is written on his face, the beginnings of disbelief. I am almost certain I was smiling.
It's his eyes that give away the truth, or possibly my eyes, but there is no doubting that he knows. He screams and curses and flails. “What the fuck did you do to her? You son of a bitch, what the fuck did you do?!”
In a fury, he lunges over a desk. Somehow a pair of scissors appears in his right hand. One employee tries to stop him, but he pushes through relentlessly. He shoulders a paramedic to get to me and brings the scissors screaming down towards my neck.
There is a rap on the metal bars as the guard walks by with his nightstick. He barks some order halfway between stand up and hurry. They told me this would be the longest walk of my life.
You can see beyond the glass into those pale white eyes that are present to witness the end. They are all appalled at what you’ve done. Contemptuous looks engulf the crowd of people who mean absolutely nothing to you. My boss wasn’t there. He didn’t make it out of the office.
The chair spun. It's as simple as that. The chair spun and the scissors missed my neck but found Jim’s thigh. I watched as his blood pooled inside of my cubical. The paramedics scrambled to plug the artery. It only takes three minutes to lose four liters of blood. It is all quite shocking, actually.
“Do you have any last words?” The warden says in to the hand microphone.
I thought about saying something repulsive, or laughing hysterically, but as I stared through that glass words simply didn’t seem important. Only she knew the meanings of my words, only she felt the damage of my wrath, and only she could ever forgive me.
The warden nods and the machine compresses the tubes, sending vials of clear liquid coursing through my veins. I saw her face then, the face I swore I never wanted to see again. It was all supposed to unfold differently, this lapse of emotion, birthed by the evidence in front of me, but the truth is that none of us would ever be the same.
She cried when I walked through the door moments after his exit that day. “You eat lunch at the office. You always eat lunch at the office,” she mumbled through disbelieving eyes as she tried to cover herself. The entirety of that moment reverberated through time over and again. Something awful took place that not even I could comprehend, not until now.
It is all so painless, the beginning of the end. My eyes get heavy and time seems to fade away as I drift into an endless sleep.
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