“So, how are you feeling now?” The doctor stared down her nose at the patient.
“I don’t understand the question,” the towering blonde replied.
“You’ve been on medication for six weeks now. Do you feel better?” She eyed the man, slumped down into his chair, and began to scribble something on her clipboard.
“I don’t… know… I haven’t been able to feel since I began taking these things,” The man’s Norse-like dreadlocks kept him company. He twisted them back and forth between his palms, tightening the locks one by one. “What are you writing?”
She stopped mid-stroke and looked back to the man. “Nothing bad; don’t worry.” She put the clipboard in her top drawer and folded her lanky fingers neatly into each other. “Tell me about your lack of feeling.”
He took a look around. When he first came into the office weeks prior, he’d noticed the solid black frames holding pictures of Greek mythology, painted on period vases, probably from a museum exhibit. He’d notice there were lilies and sunflowers on the short table behind her.
Her thick Russian accent charmed him, as did her hard jaw and set facial features. Her curvature matched what he imagined for his ideal woman. And she had proper style to accent it. Even her soft white scarf managed to draw attention to her sculpted frame.
Rich Corinthian leather covered the soft, marshmallow-esque cushions of the couch. The chairs designated for clients had an interesting cross-hatch – more a weave. The material had escaped him but the thing that stuck out was the patterning… Five colors of thread blended seamlessly together to create a single shade of cloth. The first time, he’d stared at that pattern for a full minute before she forced him to engage.
It had been an exciting and promising moment that he’d hope would lead to a better future.
Now, he saw some pictures. There were flowers in room. Their fresh-cut aroma made no impact. The couch… eh, black is always a safe color. The psychiatrist, she seemed pretty hot but he didn’t notice anything particularly outstanding. When he tried to focus on the chair, his vision blurred. He no longer saw the individual threads. Everything just seemed duller than it once was. And he didn’t care. And he didn’t care that he didn’t care. And it pissed him off to no end.
“I can’t… I reach for words and they disappear. The thoughts are in my brain but, they’re scrambled. It’s easy to lose it. I’m just not as sharp as I was.”
“You’re also not as depressed. Now you can join the rest of the world and experience life as you should. Isn’t that worth anything?”
Who the fuck are you to tell me how I should experience life? What’s the point of being normal? Why would anyone want to sacrifice their ability to communicate, to articulate, to see reality… just to feel” normal”?
He tried to argue with her. All he could muster was a grunting “uh-huh.”
“Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Isn’t this an improvement from being unable to move from your bed for weeks at a time?”
Not even close, bitch. It’s like imprisoning my mind in a body that disagrees. I’m trapped in this bullshit and I can’t even feel how shitty I feel.
“I have no opinion on life now. It’s just… I feel…” he struggled to find the word. It was somewhere in his brain. He’d thought it before he spoke but, somewhere between brain and mouth, it disappeared.
“How do you feel? Is everything okay?”
Of course not. I thought that was pretty fucking obvious, myself.
“What is it?” Her gaze softened. He wasn’t sure if she meant to play him into opening up or had become genuinely concerned.
“I can’t say. It’s up here,” he tapped his skull. “It’s definitely here,” he patted his left breast, his heart. “I just can’t figure out how to make it come out.”
“Just say it?” She politely offered.
I fucking can’t goddamnit. You’ve killed my ability to do that with your stupid fucking rope… er… pills. Wait… What?
“The words… they don’t make it. I want to be frustrated but I can’t. I mean, I am, but my body isn’t. It’s like some kind of reverse… the… the body works. The brain just can’t make it.”
The gravity of her concern escalated. She leaned forward, causing him to emulate the motion. “That doesn’t make any sense, Val.”
“I know. That’s the point. I’m just cloudy and useless in this state,” he places his forearms on her desk and his head fell into their soft comfort.
“I can’t eat, I can’t shit, I can’t interact the way I normally do. People are abandoning me, I’m a different person and it’s all because of this fucking medication.”
“You can find new friends, people who would abandon you for…”
“For having a drastic change in… fuck!” he slammed his fists on the desk and beat his head into his arms. “It’s… Goddamnit! It’s how you act, who you are, that whole thing.” Thumb and forefinger clamped on the bridge of his nose as he struggled to find the words buried in his mind.
“I’m just constantly frustrated and exhausted and I’m not the same person. Or I am. I can’t tell. I am inside. But does it matter? I can’t show my inner self anymore. I feel like a zombie.”
The doctor snickered at herself for a moment.
“It’s nothing…” she stifled herself. “Just that..”
“Out with it!” he demanded.
“I just think zombies are pretty good at showing their insides.”