Sarah Aisling’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: It Comes Down to Days
It comes down to days.
Good days, when the meds work and my thoughts are clearer, simply hazed by gray but not obliterated. They're always heavy, floating through my mind like thick cotton batting. There's no remedy for that.
Bad days, when despite meds and therapy and hopes and dreams and cries to . . . someone up there, my thoughts, words, feelings, desires-memories-anger-rage-fear spin out of control. I spin out of control. Then the orderlies take me down, truss me like a turkey, and I spend the next few days in the white room of pain. It hurts to be alone. White slices through my retinas. And quiet is the Great Deceiver—did you know?
The days in between. These are the ones that lead to and from the others, a spider web of networked threads running in patterns. These are spent following a complex set of rules, eating meals, participating in group therapy, individual therapy, swallowing little pills, sleeping, socializing, wondering about the meaning of this existence. But don't be fooled into thinking less of these! They are also the Defining Days because one cannot get from one kind of day to another without them. Small moments, miniscule events on The Great Timeline have the propensity to tip scales, making or breaking.
“Are you still with me?”
I glance up into deep brown eyes that remind me of the beagle I had as a child—soulful and caring no matter what I look or smell like. I nod. The restraints tug, forcing me to hug myself. It's probably the only time it happens. It's guilt-free hugging, and that makes it safe.
“I'm Dr. Clausen. Would you like me to undo the restraints?”
Dr. Clausen of the liquid beagle puppy eyes. Do I want to stop my guilt-free hug?
“N-no.” I rock, the cheap springs beneath me groaning even though I weigh ninety pounds.
Dr. Beagle Puppy crouches beside me, tilting his head. “You feel more secure that way, huh?”
He's young and cute. In another life . . . if we were other people. Then again, he wants to work here with the crazies, so he must have some issues, too.
“Well, I have a bit of news for you.” He fidgets, straightening his tie, a sure sign of insecurity.
Yeah, even I know how to read people. I tense up, and now my self-hug feels like the restraint it was meant to be. News isn't something I welcome because it often leads to bad days.
“Oh, no. Oh, no.”
“I was kind of hoping you'd let me tell you the news before getting upset. We're going to be working together for the foreseeable future. I'm your new therapist.”
“No more Dr. Butt-face?”
Dr. Clausen snorts, pressing a hand to his mouth. “You mean Dr. Snyder?”
“Tomato, tomahto. Let's call this whole thing off and send me home, huh?”
“Dr. Snyder . . . has been replaced. He won't have any further patient contact.”
“Hallelujah and Amen! Good news.” Dr. Snyder rates his own padded room.
“So, you want to give me a try as your therapist?”
“Welcome to The Nutt Hut, Beagle Eyes.”
“Do you have a nickname for all the doctors?”
“Is 'Beagle Eyes' a good one?”
“I'll let you figure that one out. You're the one getting paid for this shit.” I smile for the first time in weeks.
Like I said—it comes down to days.
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Sarah Aisling hails from the East Coast of the US and loves living by the ocean with her incredibly indulgent husband and precocious daughter. She’s currently editing her upcoming novel, The Weight of Roses. When Sarah isn’t being enslaved by her characters, she can be found with her nose in a book, obsessing over nail polish or anything leopard, biking, hiking, camping, and spending time with friends and family. Twitter: @SarahAisling Facebook
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